For my birthday, I got a beautiful hand tattoo which, is in and of itself, a major accomplishment for someone who has severe cerebral palsy, with the phrase, “No mud, no lotus.” I really wanted it on my hand in order to always be able to see it and take comfort in it.
This tattoo is especially meaningful to me after everything I’ve been through. There has been so much darkness and pain, and yet, I am growing and fighting my way to the light out of the mud. This phrase was part of a recent meditation session and it really hit me hard because that’s how I feel. I am growing and changing; doing my best to become a better person while acknowledging that I am far from perfect. I’m learning to love myself and get away from toxic relationships even when it hurts.
I’m trying to be like Christ without all the religious stuff. Without the mud (darkness and pain), there’s no beautiful lotus. I’m trying to get to the blooming flower and I AM getting there. There’s always going to be be pain and darkness throughout life, but it can always eventually turn into something beautiful!
For the Christ-followers, bad things happen in the world because sin and satan are in it. We are not born evil. God is the Author of only good things. Children really need to be taught this so they don’t think they are inherently bad or that God causes “bad things to happen.”
My beautiful hand tattoo by Candace Lyon.
Since today is mental health awareness day, this morning’s meditation session was wonderful! I still struggle with anxiety and PTSD. This week has been especially rough for my bathroom anxiety.
It’s sad that physical pain is widely acknowledged and supported, but when it comes to mental health issues, there’s still a stigma which can, and often does, make people feel isolated and alone. Nobody expects you to “get over” physical illness or pain, but they certainly expect you to hurry up and “get over” emotional pain.
I truly believe emotional health begins at birth or even before. Children are able to pick up on our vibes. Therefore, they definitely require responsive, respectful care to be able to have a better chance at emotional health. After all, emotional health is just as crucial for a healthy society as physical health is.
The following commercial from Pampers diapers always makes me cry every year at Christmas time.
These precious, innocent babies are the pinnacle of God’s creation and I always wonder how anyone in their right mind could believe that they are “sinful” or “manipulative.”
These babies are beautiful human beings; people think it’s perfectly fine, and even “godly,” to treat them harshly in order to “train” them to be peaceful, godly people. It breaks my heart every time, especially this time of year when we are celebrating God coming down as a baby to save us all! Check out this post about God being a baby.
Jesus lifted children’s status in the world, and called us to be more like them and treat them with respect and kindness. And yet, “Christians” still advocate for letting them cry-it-out, for spanking/hitting them, and for using other harsh punishment on them. But that isn’t how Jesus was when He came to Earth. He brought real peace.
He treated everyone with love and discipled them. He corrected people through His Words, not through violence. Then when it was time, He died a violent death for all of us!
Even with satan, He used His Word to stop him. In the Temple when He got angry at the people taking advantage of the poor in His Father’s House, He did not hit anyone with the whip. He simply wanted them out immediately.
We want peace on Earth but we are not willing to follow after Jesus’s example. Jesus would never leave a baby to cry-it-out, spank/hit a child, or send a child away to “think” about what he/she has done.
No, Jesus would comfort, disciple, love, guide, protect, teach, correct, forgive, and offer mercy and grace to the little ones. After all, the Kingdom of God belongs to the little ones.
“But Jesus called for them, saying, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16, NASB).
And here is what the prophet Isaiah called Jesus:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, KJV).
If we truly want peace on Earth this Christmas, may we strive to parent our beautiful children the way the Prince of Peace, Our AWESOME Lord and Savior would parent them.
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:8-14, KJV).
Note: This was originally written on November 22, 2016. I always have my husband edit my posts.
God is good! So many Christians believe that He punishes us when we sin. He definitely corrects us which isn’t pleasant, but He doesn’t spank, hurt, or smite us down or I really shouldn’t be here as I have been really sinning in my anger lately. Today is an example of God’s love.
We went grocery shopping today and got stuff for Thanksgiving. With everything we’ve been going through with grief, our cat being in the beginning stages of kidney disease, and other stresses, my husband asked me this morning if he could just make turkey and his mom’s amazing oyster dressing, and mashed potatoes because he just wasn’t into making the whole feast with sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. Of course, I said that was fine because we’re both at our limits. Maybe Christmas we’ll have the whole feast. We’ll see.
So we get everything at the store and come to the van. My husband puts me in the van and I started freaking out. I cussed. My Sara ring, the ring he bought me on the first birthday without my beloved first kitty Sara, was GONE! I didn’t feel or hear it fall off. I was so upset and sick to my stomach. My husband looked ALL over. It was nowhere to be found.
On the way home, I had a meltdown. I yelled at God. I said some very hateful things, and called Him names I’m ashamed of. My angry outburst was not as intense as the other night when I said some even more horrible things to God due to fear and anger about the possibility of losing our cat after having lost my mother-in-law and my grandpa all in the same year, but still, it was very nasty and I felt Him being sad. But I was so angry that I didn’t care at the moment. I got defiant and said that I would just go buy a new ring. I just really let Him have it.
When we got home, my husband looked again for the ring. Gone. I felt sick. I couldn’t cry. I just felt sick. He called the store to let them know that I had lost my ring. But I had no hope. It’s gone.
After putting stuff away, he takes me to the bathroom. As he was getting me up, I saw the ring in my underwear. I couldn’t verbally get it out that my ring was in my underwear due to having to focus on standing and holding on to my husband. It fell out and I said, “my ring, my ring!” He thought I was talking about another ring.
So he gets me back in my wheelchair where he can understand me easier and I told him that it was my Sara ring. It was in my underwear and fell by my “potty chair.” He went in the bathroom, and sure enough, there was my Sara ring! We both thanked Jesus!
Then I got on my iPad and checked my messages and my tattoo artist asked if I wanted to get tattooed next week. She broke her ankle right before my appointment in October to get my memorial tattoo for my mother-in-law and couldn’t do it, so I have been waiting and praying for her. I was concerned that she might not be up to it until after Christmas. I had gotten my first tattoo in honor of my grandpa the day after my birthday, and I wanted both tattoos before the holidays to keep my grandpa and mother-in-law close to me as the holidays will be tough again this year. See here to read all about my first tattoo. I was going to ask next week to see what she thought, but I will be getting tattooed on Tuesday!! Yay! Thank You, Jesus.
Finally, I received a message from Safe Families, a local Christian organization that helps children and their families during crisis situations, and they said that want to see if they can figure out how to partner with me for parent coaching. Thank You, Jesus!
After being so awful to Him again, He blesses me and let’s us know that He is here! He forgives. And maybe He disciplines us in a manner that truly humbles us through blessing because I didn’t deserve any blessings at all!
And perhaps, we should be mindful of the way He disciplines and forgives us as we discipline our children. He definitely loves us no matter what and fathers us gently!
Just re-reading this brings me to tears. I don’t deserve His love.
Once again I have seen another Christian leader try to claim that physical “discipline” (I hate when people try to call corporal punishment “physical discipline” as hitting a child is NOT “discipline,” it is punishment!) is a part of the “rod” verses of Proverbs. They just do not understand that the Hebrew meaning of the “rod” verses do not include the use of corporal punishment with children.
If they did, God would have provided more instructions on how, when, why, and at what age children should be spanked/hit.
I mean, inflicting pain on a child is serious business. Why would God leave it up to a bunch of sinful adults to figure out how to use corporal punishment? And these sinful adults don’t even agree on what is “abuse.” Here are quotes from the popular “Christian” advocates of spanking:
“The child may be more strong-willed than the parent, and they both know it. If he can outlast a temporary onslaught, he has won a major battle, eliminating punishment in the parent’s repertoire. Even though Mom spanks him, he wins the battle by defying her again. The solution to this situation is obvious: outlast him; win, even if it takes a repeated measure” (Dobson, 1970, p. 45).
“For example, a dime sized bruise on the buttocks of a fair-skinned child may or may not indicate an abusive situation. It all depends. In an otherwise secure and loving home, that bruise may have no greater psychological impact than a skinned knee or a stubbed toe. Again the issue in not the small abrasion; it is the meaning behind it” (Dobson, 1996, p. 25).
“After you have spanked, take the child up on your lap and hug him, telling him how much you love him, how much it grieves you to spank him, and how you hope that it will not be necessary again. Then if he is still not restored, you are to check your own spirit to see if you have handled him roughly… [or] brought unholy anger on this holy mission, and if you have, seek forgiveness from God. If your child is still angry, it’s time for another round, ‘Daddy has spanked you, but you are not sweet enough yet. We are going to have to go back upstairs for another spanking'” (Tripp, 1995, p. 149).
“On the bare legs or bottom, switch him eight or ten licks; then, while waiting for the pain to subside, speak calm words of rebuke. If the crying turns to a true, wounded, submissive whimper, you have conquered; he has submitted his will. If the crying is still defiant, protesting and other than a response to pain, spank him again” (Pearl, 1994, p. 80).
It is very scary to me that they say different things, but yet, advocate harsh, “loving” spankings. Also, dark skinned children must suffer much more pain than a lighter skinned child as bruises don’t show up as quickly on dark skin.
But since there is yet another “Christian” leader teaching parents to spank/hit their children in order to “Bibically discipline” them, I will explore the topic once again. I cover all of this in my book, Gentle Firmness.
This time we’ll focus on Proverbs 22:15 (NASB) which states:
“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.”
We know that the Hebrew meaning for “rod” is Shebet and that the rod was a large stick with spikes on the end of it. The shepherds never used it to hit the sheep. Shebet is also used in the Bible as a symbol of authority.
The problem most Christians have with this verse as well as the other “rod” verses that seem to advocate using corporal punishment with children is that the Hebrew word for “discipline” which is Muwcar includes “chastisement” in the definition.
What confuses most pro-spanking Christians is that the English definition for chastisement includes physical punishment. However, it means verbal correction as well.
When looking at the dictionary, there are many synonyms for chastise.
Let’s look at some of them: “Rebuke, Lecture, Scold, Reprimand, Bawl Out, Dress Down, and Lecture.” Yes, it can mean physical punishment, but it also means many other things!
Given the Biblical context in which chastise is being used here in Proverbs, we are walking on very shaky ground if we choose to interpret it as a command to spank our children. God rebukes us all the time. No, it’s not pleasant, but it’s not in a harsh tone and He immediately forgives us when we repent. And yes, if we choose to do our own thing against His will, He will allow, not inflict, pain into our lives. It’s called natural consequences.
Another issue with insisting on punishing and spanking/hitting our children and using the Bible to justify it is that Jesus suffered and died for ALL of our sins! How come adults can just pray for forgiveness and they are forgiven? But our children who are just learning don’t get grace and forgiveness until they “pay” for their “sins.” How is this Biblical or Christ-like?
Finally, sadly, some Christians do follow this verse to a “t” and spank their children for being children. Yet, when we really study this and other verses that seem to advocate corporal punishment with children, we see that there is no reference to spanking/hitting children. It is also important to understand child development as God created children to think and behave the way that they do. To constantly hit them for being “unwise” by adult standards is neither Biblical nor fair. And you can’t beat foolishness out of children any more than you can beat the devil out of them.
Jesus has raised children’s status and has called us to be like little children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. In fact, Jesus had plenty of time to teach about children and NEVER said anything about spanking/hitting them!
We are to drive out folly by teaching, guiding, protecting, and comforting our children. To do anything other than that, especially to take the above verse literally, would be to teach children that no matter what they do, they will never be able to measure up. Does this sound like the way to raise children up in the Lord?
References (I don’t recommend any of these):
Dobson, J. (1970). Dare to Discipline. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Dobson, J. (1996). The New Dare to Discipline. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Pearl, M. (1994). To Train Up A Child. Pleasantville, TN: No Greater Joy Ministries.
Tripp, T. (1995). Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Wapwallopen, PA: Shepherd Press.
As Christmas draws near, I always enjoy thinking about how God chose to come to Earth as Baby Jesus.
God coming down as a BABY and doing what all human babies do really says a lot about how He truly feels about children. He could’ve come as a man, but He chose to be a BABY.
Our Almighty God was born the same way as all babies are, and nursed from His mother’s breasts! He was like all children. I believe Jesus cried as a baby and screamed as a toddler because these are developmental behaviors. Acting one’s age is not sinful when one is a young child. Jesus was 100% human as well as 100% God. He had to communicate His needs the same way all babies and children must.
Of course, Jesus was sinless, so when He became an adolescent Who could act maliciously, He didn’t. Yet, God, the Father, didn’t send Jesus out to the desert to be tempted by satan until He was an adult.
Whatever you believe about the “sinful nature” of children, this tells me that God, the Father, knew that Jesus’s brain needed to mature in growth and The Word before He could withstand the evil one.
Much of what most Christians deem “sinful” in children is simply immature brains that cannot control impulses. It is not sin until the child truly grasps sin. How dare we call children “sinful” when God, the Father, waited for His Son to fully mature before sending Him into the desert.
I find this all truly amazing! I think we, as Christians/Christ-followers, really need to reflect more on things such as this as it gives us greater insight into the true character of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It would make no sense if He really wanted us to leave infants to cry-it-out and/or to spank/hit our children! After all, He was a Child!
Many Christians claim infants are “sinful” and “manipulative.” This is based on an inaccurate interpretation of Psalm 51:5 which states:
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5, NASB).
Even many Bible versions inaccurately translate this verse to say that David was “sinful” from birth. What I believe the verse is actually saying is that David’s mother was sinning when he was conceived. Other verses seem to contradict the church doctrine of infants being born “sinful.” Let’s look at some.
“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” ( James 4:17, NASB).
“Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, shall enter there, and I will give it to them and they shall possess it” (Deuteronomy 1:39, NASB).
“For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law” (Romans 5:13, ESV).
“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these'” (Matthew 19:14, NASB).
As we can see, infants and young children are not ever considered “sinful” in the Bible. We will all eventually sin in our lives and will need Jesus to save us from our sins, but infants do not even know what sin is, therefore, they cannot understand what sin is. They re so young and are totally in the present moment. They cannot plan ahead.
Also, if we truly observe infants in an objective manner, we’ll see that they are eager to interact with us. And as soon as they can physically do it, they will offer toys and food to us. It may be slobbery, but they love to share with us and interact with us.
A “sinful” infant wouldn’t get joy from taking turns with us and interacting with us. A “sinful” infant would never ever be satisfied with us. I must point out that some infants are born with special needs and can’t interact the way typical infants can. Other infants are very high needs. These infants are not “sinful.”
No infants are ever “sinful.” Infants are totally innocent. It is very important for us to understand that infants’ wants are also their needs. Infants are incapable of manipulating us during their first year of life. Yes, as they get older, they can wait a bit for a need to be met as long as we tell them we will meet it soon and follow through. But even wanting to be held is an actual need for infants.
Let’s do our best to treat infants in a manner that will allow them to keep their innocence for as long as possible instead of treating them harshly, making them learn to be selfish.
James 1:23-25 (NASB);
“For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.”
How many times have we all read God’s Word and then turned around and have done the exact opposite? I know I have. God gently convicts me when I do this.
We all mess up. Only God is perfect. But, I feel like many Christians don’t even try to be doers of the Word because instead of loving others, including children, they are often harsh, judgmental, and condemning. Yet, the Bible says there is no longer condemnation in Christ.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s ok to condemn sin. But it is not ok to condemn sinners as we are all sinners.
I believe children get condemned the most by many Christian sects. They insist we must spank/hit children and control them. Yet, the Bible says to treat everyone with gentleness. This includes our children.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
When we fail to extend mercy, love, and gentleness to others, including our children, we become hearers of the Word. To spank/hit, punish, and treat children harshly is forgetting the beautiful Gospel message because Jesus taught, corrected, and discipled His disciples and others. He never hit anyone. No, not even when He cracked His whip in the temple.
We need to be doers of God’s Holy Word. We need to be gentle with everyone. Treating children gently and working with them is one of the best ways we can be doers instead of merely hearers of the Word.
“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
If sin is the law, then our “law” for children is sin; demands thrust upon them they cannot possibly meet due to their current understanding and level of development.
To further clarify, expecting toddlers to stay away from breakables and punishing toddlers when they don’t “obey” us is thrusting the “law” on them, thus, making them deal with sin before they can even understand what sin truly is, and adding feelings of anger, hurt, and confusion to them by punishing them is sin.
Putting the breakables away takes the “law” away, therefore, removing the power of sin. “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 18:6).
Also, expecting first time obedience of children is thrusting the “law” on them as God does not even expect first time obedience of us! First time obedience is neither biblical nor developmentally appropriate. The young brain takes longer to process stimuli. Young children just process everything much, much differently than we do. It takes a lot of brain damage from physical punishment to finally get children to obey immediately. Not good. They are in constant fight or flight mode when people use physical punishment to get first time obedience. Fear and pain hinder brain development and learning.
God created children to be who they are. He created our brains. So, no children should never be expected to obey immediately all the time. Now, if there is an emergency or a good reason for immediate cooperation (I really dislike using obedience within the parent-child relationship because we’re not God and are mere sinners. Cooperation should be our aim within the parent-child relationship.), then we need to tell the child why and be prepared to help the child cooperate.
Let’s do our best not to thrust sin onto our children before they are truly capable of resisting it. Let us get the Word of God into their hearts instead! After all, it’s Jesus who gives all of us victory over our sin, notpunishment.
“Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
“Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
“Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
“Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.”
This passage shows God wants to break the yoke of oppression which He did through Jesus. In fact, Jesus said, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew11:30, NASB). Yet, many Christians do the exact opposite of what Isaiah 58:6-10 tells us to do.
Christians point their fingers at others, especially children. Christians put the yoke of oppression on others, especially children. And Christians judge!
I have been guilty of pointing fingers and judging myself. I am far from perfect.
Of course, before I get into how we do this with children, I need to comment about the most recent ways Christians are pointing fingers, placing the yoke of oppression onto others, and are judging. This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage should be allowed in every state. This has Facebook going nuts. Many Christians are angry. People are arguing. Memes are going around. And many profile pictures have rainbows on them.
I’ve stayed out of it for the most part except for commenting on a few friends’ posts.
I believe the act of engaging in homosexual acts is a sin according to the Bible. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman as even Jesus reiterated in Matthew 19:4-6. Marriage is a symbol of the covenant between God and the Church, therefore, it is Holy Matrimony. That being said, this is not a Christian nation. I’m not sure if it was ever really founded on Christian principles. What this country was founded on is freedom. That includes freedom of religion. I am free to follow Jesus and worship Him openly. There is a reason for the separation of church and state. The government has no business telling us what religion or deity to follow.
Allowing gays to marry is simply giving them freedom. Do I agree with that lifestyle? No. Is it my job to push my Biblical belief onto them? No.
I am not condoning the lifestyle of homosexuality. But, God gives us free will. They are free to live how they want. They’ll never enter into Holy Matrimony, but since this is a free country and as long as they’re not hurting anyone but themselves, I believe they should have equal rights.
If we want them to come to Jesus, we need to love them as Jesus does. We are all sinners. Stop judging, pointing fingers, and placing the yoke of oppression on them and just give them grace and love. They already know we disagree. Instead of making this such a huge deal, why not quietly show them love by remaining peaceful? It doesn’t mean we condone it. It just means we be Jesus to them.
Now, when it comes to children, many Christians also put the yoke of oppression on them, point their fingers at them, and judge them.
The primary way we put the yoke of oppression on children is putting unrealistic, unattainable expectations on them. Expecting infants to sleep through the night is unrealistic and unattainable. Expecting toddlers to control their impulses and emotions is unattainable and unrealistic. Expecting children to cheerfully obey the first time is also unattainable and unrealistic. Christians who have unrealistic, developmentally inappropriate expectations of children oppress them because they do not allow them to be children. They force children to be someone they’re not. Children are not free.
Then when children don’t live up to the unrealistic expectations, they get fingers pointing at them saying how “bratty, sinful, defiant, rotten, spoiled, and horrible” they are. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen to children who were just being children. Of course, many parents point their finger at their children while rebuking them. Yet, the opening passage tells us to stop pointing our fingers at each other. This applies to children too.
Finally, many Christians judge children. They can’t negatively label children without judging them. And with judgment comes punishment by either ignoring an infant’s cries so they “learn to sleep,” which the only thing infants learn through cry-it-out is that we won’t come. They still wake up hungry, scared, in pain, sick, hot, cold, wet, poopy but they won’t cry out because they’ve learned nobody will come. This is not what God wanted. And they don’t enter a natural sleep when left to cry-it-out. Infants’ bodies shut down from all of the stress of crying and they enter a forced state of sleep.
As far as judging children and really, anyone, Jesus says not to do it.
Matthew 7:1-5 states, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
When we decide that a child deserves punishment for “defiant” behavior, we are judging the child. Instead of judging and meting out what we think is “proper punishment,” we must connect with and discipline the child.
Let us stop, as Christians, doing the very things God is trying to undo. Stop placing the yoke of oppression on others. Let us stop pointing our fingers at others. And let us stop judging each other. May we love one another as the Bible says over and over again.
“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).