And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
I have recently seen this versed lived out before my very eyes.
Many times I have struggled with the meaning of what Jesus was saying here. He was asked by the disciples this question: "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Jesus replied aptly to their question sending shock waves to their system I would suppose.
Little children? Such little knowledge? Such unlearned ways? Really?
Jesus says this next: "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Again, shock waves.
In our minds we think the greatest should be the holiest in deeds, the one who prays out loud at every and any opportunity, the one who quotes the bible day in and day out...
But, Jesus says the greatest will be like children.
What is it about children that Jesus would say such a thing?
Recently, I observed this and finally this scripture came to life.
One of my children was treated unfairly by a friend. My child was criticized by a couple of friends who this child looks up to greatly.
The heart of my child was broken.
So, of course, the heart of this child's momma was broken as well.
Not just broken, but flat out mad.
So mad that I could not see straight.
Suddenly, every part of Jesus inside of me wanted to exit the nearest door. You know what I am talking about Momma's?
Yeah, that kind of mad.
I wanted to set the record straight with the children who had hurt my child AND their parents.
Yet, the response I saw in my child changed me. And humbled my prideful heart.
My child was forgiving. Beyond belief.
So forgiving that I wanted so badly to say, "You don't have to be so nice. Tell these kids off!"
But, I didn't by the grace of the Living Jesus inside of me.
I watched this child extend grace beyond measure as I watched with my mouth agape.
This child hasn't lost an ounce of sleep. All is well in this child's heart.
It's harder for me. I wanted revenge for the hurt. I wanted to rescue my child and bandage up the wounds. Just like a momma bear would do.
However, this child showed me better.
We will do well watching children interact. They trust easier. They forgive easier. They let things go easier.
Children don't put up walls and fortresses around their hearts. They are on open door inviting others in.
Whew. I am telling you...I am begging Jesus for a heart like a child's. A heart that loves without conditions. Forgives without holding grudges.
And, can we talk about humility here?
That's probably the hardest part.
When we have been hurt we swell up with pride and anger...
Just the opposite of humility.
Here's the thing...
We can read the bible every morning from cover to cover.
We can tape scripture up all over our houses.
We can attend every church service.
If we don't change and become like little children, we fail miserably.
Peace will escape us if we don't change our hardened adult hearts.
I am sickened by my heart at times. Oh, but I see there is HOPE.
Hope for the battered state of my heart...
Hope for the anger that fogs up my way to see Jesus...
Hope for the pride that kills off every ounce of humility...
Friend, do you want to be great?
Change and become like a child.
back to childhood,