Wednesday, February 12, 2014

He Expects Nothing Less

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"He called a little child and had them stand among them.  And he said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." -Matthew 18:2-3
Our world has become increasingly hateful.  People feel more entitled to their opinions, and to act harshly based on their opinions, than ever before.  We have somehow even disconnected our hateful actions towards others from the fact that they are humans; living, breathing, children of God.  Despite what others believe, their religious backgrounds or lack thereof, as Christians our foundation is based upon a Savior who died for all, even those that do not acknowledge him as Lord.  That leads me to believe that all people are precious children of His, regardless of the labels and judgements we place on them.

There is a reason that so many of us are drawn to the indescribable "force field" a child possesses.  I sit in awe of my children and how they can play for hours with a tree branch and a few pebbles.  Suddenly, our backyard is transformed into a deep forest and those pebbles are all the berries they have to survive on.  But it is not just their imagination that draws us to them.  There is an innocence about them, an untainted canvas that has the ability to make even the most wretched soul join them in their world free of worry, regret and judgement.

When Jesus talks about us becoming like children, he is asking us to take on humility, teachability, dependence.  We have the opportunity to learn from the little ones that are placed in our care and in our circle of influence.  He is revealing through them a way for us to take the jaded film that covers ours eyes and show us how He sees the world, how he sees His beloved. 

In places like The Hole, La Mosca, The Bateys, Haiti; most of us adults can only see the things our Earthly eyes can assess.  Hunger, devistation, abuse...we look at things by face value.  But if we view these places with the eyes of a child we can see so much more.

I love taking my daughter to The Hole.  She sticks out like a sore thumb with her bright blonde hair and porcelain complexion but somehow she transforms into someone else as I watch her.  She doesn't think twice about playing with another child that has a ripped shirt and no shoes.  She has no reservations about shaking the hand of a man, who also happens to be a drug addict.  She willingly gives hugs to women who dabble in prostitution.  Children are given a natural-born ability to love, without hesitation, without judgement.  The kind of love God asks each of us to display to others regardless of the differences between us.

When we step out of our comfort zone and walk onto foreign soil, God begins to slowly transform us with child-likeness.  It's why so many of us return to our homes saying we had come to minister to others but ended up being ministered to, ourselves.  We hug addicts, bring food to the hungry, play with kids who live in trash dumps...suddenly our world view doesn't contain words of judgement or opinion, we just do what we were created to do; a child loves.

The difficulty arrives as we step on a plane and start the trek back to our lives before we saw the world with child-like eyes.  Will we be graceful with our neighbor who drinks too much and plays their music too loud?  Will we bring a meal to the homeless man who sits on his same corner, day after day?  Will we stop plastering our opinions and judgmental renegades all over Facebook thinking that somehow by forcing others to see our way, they will suddenly conform to our beliefs?

We forget that Jesus was attractive to us when we first met Him because He loved us when we were broken, damaged and forgotten people.  Jesus didn't walk into our homes, list off the horrendous things we'd done in our lives and tell us we were hopeless.  He didn't ask us to put down the bottle or take a shower or come back to him when we had our stuff all together.  No, he loved us where we were, in our broken state, with the stench of our past still on our clothes. 

And he expects nothing less from each of us.