What started as a post has now made me aware this will be a short (I promise!) series on being like a child based on the bible verse in Mathew 18:1-5.
18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Part 1: What a child believes
Last Sunday before leaving for church I read a comment another blogger made regarding Christians believing that ‘certain’ people will not enter the kingdom of heaven. It was a remark based on ignorance against those of a certain sexual orientation and it really grieved me. Later during the service I got the sense that God’s heart was breaking because so many of us are short-changing His love. We say we believe God is love but our thought process shows that we actually feel God’s love is smaller than our own. Those I refer to worry and speak to these ‘certain’ people with love in their hearts because they want to ‘save them’ and they don’t see that in a sense what they are saying is, ‘I am trying to save you from God’s judgement on you’ so therefore ‘I love you more than God’.
Many years ago when I was 14 years old, a friend of mine told me that God hates gays. I was shocked at his statement and argued that God loves all people. I wasn’t a practicing Christian at the time But I did believe in God and was confident that God loves everyone. Why? I guess you can call it deep intuition. It was something I was simply born knowing.
When I look back at the faith I had in God when I was a child I understand now what Jesus meant by becoming like a child. I am deeply ashamed to admit that when I got older I too picked up on the thought process of others and believed that God wasn’t as loving as I first thought and that people of other faiths or sexual orientation were simply not going to be allowed into heaven unless they turned away from their beliefs. Sadly, I was influenced by people who I believed were more knowledgeable and spiritual than me. Thankfully, this belief system did not go on forever. I was challenged one day by a Godly person (my husband) which led me to spend quite a bit of time in contemplative prayer to finally deprogram myself of these acquired unloving beliefs.
The thing I found funny was that God brought me back to the faith of my childhood. It was a faith I hadn’t inherit from anyone. It was simply the conclusions I had when I trusted my genuine child-like heart. The faith I had in God’s love inspired me to return it back to Him by singing songs to Him in my head while I laid in bed at night. I was 9 years old when I started doing this and they weren’t songs of praise. I didn’t know any. The songs I sang to God were children songs I learned in French class. Like the little drummer boy, I was confident enough in God’s love to feel that my songs would be lovingly received.
I was often compelled to create gifts for others when I was young. This is something that most children do I think. We lock ourselves in our room and spend time drawing a picture or making some craft and when we are done, we feel so good about what we made that we want to give it away! How often has it happen in the history of time that a child has walked up to his mother or someone else he loves and says, “Look what I made!” and then follow that with, “It’s for you!”
Another conclusion I came up with as a child (about 7 or 8 I think) was that God is neither male or female and God is both. Deep huh? As a child I had no problem with understanding hard concepts like that and especially I had no problem with God loving everyone. When I was a child I didn’t feel very loved by people and yet I had no problem believing God loved me.
I made mistakes when I was a child. I lied to people, fought with my brothers, was very selfish and self-seeking. I often was aware of the things I did wrong and would apologise to those I hurt. However, sometimes my apology did not get accepted. Somehow, I knew that God forgave me when I told Him I was sorry. How did I know this? Nobody taught me about God’s forgiveness, I just intuitively knew.
I can only speak about what I believed as a child. I would love to hear from others as to what they believed about God when they were children outside of what others taught them.
So in conclusion, when I was a child I believed that
1.God loves everyone very very much.
2. God is happy to receive our gifts no matter how small and loves us for it.
3. When we create something that’s good we should give it to someone we love.
4.God forgives us when we are sorry even when others don’t.
5. God is neither sex and God is both.
Incidentally, when I refer to God as He it is for simplicity’s sake. I believe that God is Mother as well as Father. Although personally God feels more like father to me, I have learned that for some people this is a hard concept. Those especially who may have had an abusive father finds it easier to think of God as Mother or Goddess and that is more than okay. In part 2 I hope to talk more about being like a child.