"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
March 24, 2010
During spring break, my sister flew to Texas to spend a few days with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter. She took the young boy that she and her husband have guardianship of. He had never flown before, and at first kept telling my sister that he was not going to fly on an airplane. She wasn't sure what she was going to do because she already had their tickets purchased.
Finally, she figured out the reason he didn't want to fly. The only airplanes he had ever seen were up in the sky. Of course, they look small from the ground. He was taking the words, "Flying ON an airplane," literally. She told me that she was sure that in his mind, he was picturing them actually on top of the airplane flying, and was thinking, "There is no way I'm getting on top of that tiny little plane, and flying that high up in the air!"
Had she worded it differently and explained that they would be flying inside the airplane, then he would have had a different perspective. Also, had he realized how huge the plane would be, he would have been more excited.
He ended up understanding, and was quite excited by the time they left for their trip. He thoroughly enjoyed flying, and was amazed that they could see clouds below them when they were in the air. When they got to Dallas to change planes, he asked if they were there. My sister told him that they would have to get on another plane, and fly one more time before arriving. His response was, "Oh, fun!"
When one of Jon's nephews was young, his dad was taking him somewhere, and told him that they would eat on the road. The son's eyes got huge and he said, "We're eating on the road?!" Jon's brother realized the picture his son had in his head was of them literally eating ON the road. He explained that what he actually meant was that they would eat inside the car while driving down the road.
Kids take literally everything adults tell them as truth. They haven't learned to discern alternate meanings for what they're being told. If they're told, "We're flying on a plane," they literally think you mean that you are flying on top of a plane. If you tell them, "We're eating on the road," they think you mean that you are going to sit down and eat on the road.
Jon and I were recently watching America's Funniest Home Videos, and one of the clips that was along these lines made us chuckle. Two little boys were sitting on the couch and their dad was recording them on video. When he was finished, one of the little boys said, "You're finished? But you didn't tape us!" The dad was puzzled and told them that he had just taped them and asked what his son meant. He had told the boys, "Sit on the couch and I'm going to tape the two of you together." The little boys took it literally, and thought their dad was going to use tape and tape the two of them together. They were a little disappointed that he meant video taping and not the type of tape they had envisioned in their minds. After all, that's what he had said!
Children often don't realize that what you say can have two or three different meanings. They take literally what you say at face value and believe if you tell them something, then that's the way it is.
When one of my nephews was little, his mom made him his first dentist appointment. She told him that he was going to see the dentist on March 1st. He said, "March first?" "Yes." The day arrived and when they pulled up, my sister told him that they were at the dentist. He said, "But you said we were going to march first!" Then he asked where Aaron was. Aaron's dad's name was Dennis, and what my nephew had understood and thought was going to happen, was that he and his mom were going to first march, then they were going to see Dennis.
I've heard the saying, "Say what you mean, and mean what you say."
With kids it's easy to think, "Oh, they're just kids and don't understand." But sometimes it's we adults who aren't explaining what we mean. We say things and assume that people know what we are talking about. We think that everyone should know when we're serious and when we're joking around. We know what we mean to say, and think that everyone should be able to comprehend or interpret our message; whether it's children or other adults we're talking to.
In Matthew 18 beginning in verse 1, we read just how important children are to Jesus. We also hear Him say that we should be like little children.
The disciples ask Jesus, "Who is really the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Jesus called a little child to him and put him in the midst of them. He said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you repent (change, turn about) and become like little children (trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving) you can never enter the kingdom of heaven at all. Whoever will humble himself therefore, and becomes (trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving) as this little child, is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (amplified version)
You can tell a child something and they will believe you. Kids are very trusting and will accept what you say as fact. It's only when they've been disappointed over and over again or have been lied to or hurt that they began to doubt and question.
A while back some of my family got together. My nephew has a 4-year old son. Winston had memorized some Bible verses for a Christmas program at his daycare. His parents were trying to get him to say them and he wasn't too sure whether or not he wanted to. My sister told him that she'd give him a dollar if he would. He stood up and quoted them. As soon as he finished he looked at her and said, "Where's my dollar?" He had been told he would get one if he said the scriptures, and that was exactly what he expected. He had no reason to doubt what he had been told or to question whether or not he'd get the dollar that he had been promised. He was told something, so he believed it!
Earlier that day, Winston had gone with the guys to the apartment of another nephew. It was Jon, and four of my nephews and Winston who were there. The women were all at a baby shower. Some of the guys were teasing the nephew who owned the apartment saying that some of the movies that he and his wife owned were dirty movies. They really weren't! They were just joking around and giving my nephew a hard time. But Winston asked, "You have dirty movies?!" The guys were laughing and told him that when they got back to the house to tell my nephew's mom that he has dirty movies. The guys moved onto other topics of conversation. When they got back to the house, Winston found my sister and told her that her son had dirty movies at his house. He didn't realize that they were just joking around! He took what they said at face value.
I believe that Jesus wants us to take what He says at face value, as a little child. The thing is, everything written in His Word is truth. We don't have to try and discern what's real and what's not. He's not joking around or teasing. Jesus wants us to believe Him. He wants us to accept His love, unquestioningly. We don't have to try and figure out what He means or if there is an alternate meaning. We can fully trust Him.
As adults, too many times we've grown calloused where we question everything. We think we have to figure things out on our own. Accepting salvation and God's love seems too easy, so we try to make it harder than it really is. The Bible says if we confess our sins that He will forgive us of our sins. But we think we have to clean up our lives first, or that we have to work our way into heaven, or that God will ask us to do things that are too hard if we get saved. We have a problem accepting that all we have to do is confess our sins to God, and He will immediately forgive us.
We all laugh at the stories where kids misunderstand meanings of what is being told to them. But there is also something very heartfelt and touching about their purity of mind and spirit and their vulnerability. When a child says something that lets you know that they have misinterpreted what was told to them you may laugh, but you're not making fun of them. You're laughing at how sweet and innocent they are. But you also use those moments to teach them so that they will understand the next time.
Jesus wants us to each come to Him as children. He wants to teach us and train us so that we can grow spiritually and learn. We will all make mistakes in life, but He uses those moments to get us back on the right path and to help us learn. The times when we mess up the most can be the most teachable moments, if we will listen and learn. When we've been hurt or disappointed, we can allow Jesus to hold us in His arms and pour out His love to us.
May we all come to Jesus at all times without pretense. We don't have to pretend to be something we're not. We don't have to understand the Bible and know what it all means before coming to Him. All we have to do is come to Him and say, "Okay Jesus, here I am!" He'll hold us in His arms and love us, just as He did that child. Don't make it more complicated than what it really is. We don't have to have great faith, just child-like faith.
Loretta wrote several times very recently about giving forgiveness. She also mentioned that it's important to accept forgiveness.
But that can be a hard thing. Some people might avoid asking Jesus for forgiveness because they may think He can't forgive them for what they've done. Or they may think think they have to buy forgiveness. So many people think of deserving forgiveness among each other, that it's easy to think we need to deserve forgiveness from Jesus.
That's where the child-like trust comes in. He said we don't have to earn it, just ask. The sins of our past won't exactly disappear. They may leave scars or other problems. But God doesn't hold them against us after that.
1 carton of heavy whipping cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 tsp. Onion salt
Blend all ingredients in a skillet and heat. Pour over cooked pasta noodles. Can add diced chicken or shrimp, if desired.
As you all know by now, I babysit my great-nephew, Jax, three mornings a week. He doesn't crawl but has a very unique way of getting around. He sits down and uses his hands and basically kind of kicks one leg to get around. He is quick and goes wherever he want. I have never seen anything quite like it! Jax knows when he's starting to get into something he's not supposed to, because he'll turn around and look at you before doing it.
A while back, he was really wanting to get into his daddy's videos and games. I had told him, "No-no" several times, but he just kept getting closer and closer. Finally he reached out and grabbed one. I got it away from him and scooted him back, but he kept going back to them. After telling him no several times, I finally went over and gently swatted his hand and said no. He claps all the time, and apparently thought my swatting his hand was a new way of clapping. He started laughing and started clapping his hands together! Oh well, I tried!
There's a difference between coming to Jesus in a child-like manner, and acting childish!
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Loretta & Jon