On becoming like children . . .

Bible in Basic English
And said, Truly, I say to you, If you do not have a change of heart and become like little children, you will not go into the kingdom of heaven.

 GOD’S WORD® Translation (©1995)
Then he said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

King James Bible
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 18:3

 I was recently given an opportunity to learn what children are like.  Siena, our nearly five year old, is constantly teaching this lesson and all one has to do is pay attention in order to learn what children are like.

 Jessamy and I have been married for for six years and we’ve never bought a new piece of furniture.  On Saturday, we picked up our new couch and chair – nothing particularly special and we got it at a furniture store closeout, but it’s much nicer than what we had.

On Saturday evening, we discovered that Siena had taken a BLACK sharpie to the new couch in an attempt to make the pattern on the new couch match the plaid pattern on the old couch.  She did a pretty good job in a 1′ x 1′ area – lines going north/south and east/west (she really is becoming quite the artist).  Jessamy and I were obviously upset – Siena had been previously instructed not to use sharpies for anything, ever, for any reason.

The punishment was a spanking, going to bed immediately, no music or story to listen to while in bed, no TV for a day and no treats for three days.  After I spanked her and was giving her a lecture about her “crime” and her three days without treats, she asked, “How many days are you going to be mad, daddy?”

I responded, “I don’t know. . .”.  But, of course, the next morning it was all over.  Fortunately, Jessamy and I used acetone on the marks and they are barely visible now.

Anyway, the next day Siena had virtually forgotten the incident – it was totally put behind her.  So much so, that (as I discovered 24 hours after that) she took her apple and banana and hid it between the couch cushions.  That following day, I woke up to discover a strage whitish mark on the couch and found the gross, sticky banana and apple remnants.  Siena had told Jessamy that she was done with her fruit the morning before.  Lying, of course, merits another spanking.

Anyway, again, once the spanking was over, Siena went on with her life as if nothing had happened.

So, what I’m learning is that children do some really dumb things.  Even at age 4 1/2, they think they are more clever than their parents and that dad and mom won’t discover their hidden fruit.  But ultimately, once they’ve been chastened, they learn their lesson, take it to heart and move on.

I also know from personal experience that I have done some really dumb, evil things.  Even at age 35, I’ve thought that I’m more clever than God (and Satan) and that God won’t discover the hidden “fruit” of my sins, transgressions, etc. . .  I am learning to repent, receive my chastening, learn my lesson, take it to heart and move on.  Just as Siena’s question about how long I’d be mad melted my anger, God’s anger is also melted by a repentant, broken and contrite spirit.  Even though the chastening and effects of our sins may extend for longer than that hour (i.e. three days without treats in Siena’s case or the death of a child in David and Bathsheba’s case), reconciliation to God is available immediately – if one will acknowledge their sin and ask forgiveness.

Time since the sin has no effect on the situation.  It doesn’t matter if it’s been 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year or 1 lifetime.  Sin requires a Savior.  The thief on the cross had ZERO good works to point to and he had a lot of sins.  The thief had very little time to feel bad for his sins – he was dying while hanging on a cross.  He probably didn’t have 24 hours.  Yet, Jesus Christ told the thief that he’d be with Him in paradise.  All have sinned. . . but even if you had committed only one sin 70 years ago, you still MUST have a Savior or you will die and go to hell.  And if you have truly repented from that sin that occurred 30 seconds ago, that sin has been put away from you as far as the east is from the west.  Psalm 103:12

Children don’t spend a lot of time feeling bad about their sins once they’ve been corrected.  Siena has rarely been sorrowful about something for more than an hour.  The sorrow is good:

 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret . . .  II Cor. 7:10

But that is it’s purpose – to produce repentance.  After true repentance we are instructed to:

King James Bible
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Bible in Basic English
Let your change of heart be seen in your works:

From Matthew 3:8

Darby Bible Translation  

1 But Jesus went to the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down and taught them. 3 And the scribes and the Pharisees bring to him a woman taken in adultery, and having set her in the midst, 4 they say to him, Teacher, this woman has been taken in the very act, committing adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses has commanded us to stone such; thou therefore, what sayest thou? 6 But this they said proving him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Jesus, having stooped down, wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 But when they continued asking him, he lifted himself up and said to them, Let him that is without sin among you first cast the stone at her. 8 And again stooping down he wrote on the ground. 9 But they, having heard that, went out one by one beginning from the elder ones until the last; and Jesus was left alone and the woman standing there. 10 And Jesus, lifting himself up and seeing no one but the woman, said to her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Has no one condemned thee? 11 And she said, No one, sir. And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

From John 8.

 And finally. . .

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Matthew 7:11.

Published in: on March 26, 2008 at 2:23 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. I really appreciate these “picture” lessons. I learn well from examples such as these, so it was really edifying to hear your parenting stories used as a picture of God’s relationship to His children.

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