I witnessed something beautiful recently. Something completely out of the ordinary. God revealed to me what it was like to become as little children. How to have love and humility in it’s purest form and be like that of a child.
A little boy of about three years old sat on a bench all by himself. He had the biggest blue eyes and cutest rosy cheeks. He instantly caught my attention because he was all by himself. There wasn’t a parent in sight.
This small child bobbed his head from side to side while dangling his tiny legs over the edge. I listened as he sang a little song to himself, smiling ear to ear. I scanned the area looking for someone who could have been his mother.
Nevertheless, he went on singing his happy tune and all I could think of was how this toddler was too young to be alone. I was transfixed because he wasn’t afraid. He was perfectly fine being on that bench alone, unaware and without sense of danger.
Then out of no where his mother came walking up. She had a baby on her hip and she looked tired and agitated. His mother calmly walked over to her beaming boy and it was soon that I realized that this small child had been “sent” to the bench to give her a breather. She pointed her finger down at him as she quietly scolded him. Still he was all smiles as he looked up endearingly at his Mom.
No sooner had this mother given her small son permission to leave the bench, that he leapt to his feet and ran several feet away to wrap his little body around a man’s leg. I could only assume that the man was his father. It was the only way I could make sense of it.
Yet, the man was startled.
I could tell by the look on his face that he was of no relation to this little boy. He looked down at this little guy and politely tried to free himself from his clutches without much success. That’s when the man cracked a smile.
As the little boy looked up I thought, “Okay, he must have mistook him for someone else so surely he’ll let go now.”
He gave the stranger the biggest smile and squeezed even tighter. That’s when all who were witness to this smiled and laughed. His mom, the man, bystanders, and myself…all of us tickled by the love of this little guy. It was one of the cutest things I had ever seen.
Almost instantly the Lord spoke to my heart, “This is how to become like a child. Love like a child.”
I had to hold back the tears.
Of course. Now it made sense.
Jesus and the Children
This little guy had no reservations or preconceived notions. He was just an innocent one with a full heart, ready to love on anyone. The rules didn’t apply to him and “no” wasn’t in his vocabulary. He was going to share his joy no matter what the cost. As a matter of fact, there was no cost to him. He just felt love at that very moment and nothing was going to stop him from showing it.
I thought of how the children gathered around Jesus and the disciples got annoyed. They were probably worried the kids would interrupt and be a nuisance. The Lord set them straight though…
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.”
Matthew 19: 13-15 NLT
There were two dynamics set in motion here. Adults behaving in a logical methodical way, and the innocent children coming to the feet of Jesus. Jesus said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children. We are to have hearts like children.
Loving like Children
As adults our hearts become calloused by the trials and pain of experiencing the pitfalls of life. We start to put protective shields up so that we are not too vulnerable. We become hardened to the point where showing love is only for special occasions. I believe that the Lord wants us to lose our protective shell and love others unconditionally, without reservation or hesitancy. We have to love people past ourselves.
“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”
Romans 12: 9-10 NLT
I had to examine this about myself. How many times do I want to safeguard my heart and withhold my love? Do I really love others without reservation? Am I like this child that I witnessed clutching to a stranger? The answer is that I withhold my love far too often.
Do I fall at the feet of Jesus ready to worship and trust Him as a child trusts a parent? Probably not as much as I should.
I want to exude love. I want to give it as abundantly as I receive it.
“About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Matthew 18: 1-4 NLT
May we make the most out of every oppurtunity to become His little children.