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Lost Crusader #156 Childlike or Childish?

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:2-3

I suppose there are opponents of Christianity who would agree with Jesus here and identify the faithful as naïve and equate belief in God with belief in Santa Claus and the Eastern Bunny. That I believe they do so to their own hurt is my take on such opinions.

I do find it interesting that C.S. Lewis found a return to reading fairy tales a mark of maturity while Picasso described it as a hallmark of his approach to art. Childlikeness requires an unlearning and reevaluation of much of our public education. Hemingway described the process differently but said that shedding inhibitions was the key to honesty in writing.

It was not childish gullibility to which Jesus alluded. It was the capability of children to trust, to be openly expressive, and to love freely. I don’t know about you, but I was better as a child at all three than I am today. The road forward is a journey of unlearning what people have taught me and returning to the heart God gave me. This is what Jesus was speaking about.

Now, I am well aware that not everything associated with being a child is becoming an adult. There is a huge difference between being like a child and being childish. Jesus’ description of his detractors is spot on with today’s thinking.

“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, ‘We have piped to you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented.’

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking and they say, ‘Behold, a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.’

“But wisdom is justified of her children.”

The childish notion that God should dance to your tune, cater to your preferences, and be at your beck and call keeps many people from a relationship with God.

A relationship with God is not a fellowship of equals. It is a communion of king and subject, or more to the point, parent and child. Could this be the reason why God chooses to identify as Father, and why we abhor seeing a child dictate to its parents?

Come as a child, the lesser in surrender to the greater and you will find God. In finding God, you will find the everlasting freedom to be the unique creation you are meant to be.

Demand your rights, refuse to be instructed, throw a tantrum, and be offended by what is asked of you, and you will find the way is clear. God does not reign over the unwilling. They are left with the dog-eat-dog life they now enjoy.


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