In Shawn Mullins’ (1999) song, Shimmer, he sings:
“Sharing with us what he knows
His shining eyes are big and blue
And all around him water flows
This world to him is new
This world to him is new
To touch a face
To kiss a smile
And new eyes see no race
The essence of a child
He’s born to shimmer
He’s born to shine
He’s born to radiate
He’s born to live
He’s born to love but we’ll
Teach him how to hate.”
I often hear Christians say of toddlers and young children that we don’t have to teach them how to hit, kick, or bite. They are born knowing how to act “naughty.” When Christians say this of young children, they’re referring to children’s “sinful nature.” But, do young children really come into the world knowing how to be mean and malicious? Based on what the Bible says and on my knowledge of child development, the answer is no!
In fact, Jesus tells us to become like little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and also gives us a very stern warning regarding causing them to sin!
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven'” (Matthew 18:1-3, ESV).
“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:4-6, NASB).
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10, NASB).
And look how Jesus reacts when His disciples try to keep children from being brought to Him:
“But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, ‘Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these'” (Mark 10:14, NASB).
You see, as the song says, we are born to shimmer and shine. Young children are so open to God and Truth. They only act out physically when they don’t know how to verbalize to us. This has nothing to do with children being “sinful.” Children are just learning and developing. It’s not their fault their brains are young and immature. It’s not their fault they lack verbal skills.
We are the ones, as the song says, that teach our children how to hate and stifle their lights. How?
Every time we impose our wills unnecessarily over children and treat them harshly, we’re teaching them hate and are slowly putting their lights out. Yes, most Christian parents claim they’re showing their children “love” by ignoring their cries, spanking/hitting them, and sending them to isolation. This is a form of hate.
The Bible says gentleness and compassion is true love. Harshness is not. If we want our children to truly shine, shimmer, and radiate, we need to treat them as Christ treats us.
We also need to make sure we shimmer, shine, and radiate God’s Light to all!
“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NASB).