Child-like or Childish?
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
- Matthew 18:1-3 (NIV)
I have loved using this verse to suit my own agenda in the past.
As a teenager, I was often getting myself into trouble for foolish reasons. When my elders informed me that I was acting childish I would pull this verse out of my arsenal, declaring that Jesus asked his followers to act like little children, therefore I had every right to be childish if I felt like it.
However, this was a childish response. I have since learnt that this was not Jesus' intention with this statement.
Jesus instructed his followers to be child-like, not childish.
Small children have to rely on their parents for many things - guidance, advice, sustenance, etc.
But as we grow older, we grow less dependent on others and more concerned about providing for our own needs. While it is good to be able to look after ourselves, this ideology has the potential to be detrimental to our faith as it promotes the belief that if we need anything, we can sort it out ourselves.
Consider this: Whether little children are looking for their parents, watching for things to avoid walking into or just being fascinated by the world around them, they spend most of their time looking up.
Adults, on the other hand, spend most of their time looking down, either at their smart phones, avoiding eye contact with others or introspectively judging themselves.
I can't help but wonder, if in order for us to become like little children as Jesus asked of his followers, we need to learn to stop looking down and focusing on ourselves and begin to look up and learn to completely rely on the one who provides and cares for us: God.
|Image Source: Senjuti Kundu|