I am so blessed. God has given me four wonderful grandchildren, each one a joy even if they exhaust me when I spend time with them. The Bible says that “Children’s children are a crown to the aged” (1), and I have an amazing crown. I love their innocence, enthusiasm for life, the way they openly express their emotions and the funny things they say. I love their transparency, what you see is what you get.
Children are loved by God, and when his Son the Lord Jesus was on earth we see first-hand God’s love in action. Children weren’t highly rated in his time. Like women, they were second class citizens but not to Jesus. When children were trying to get near to him and his disciples were hindering them, he said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (2) He was happy to be surrounded by children and maybe like my grandchildren some of them would have wanted cuddles, to be picked up, or maybe to climb all over him. He didn’t mind, he would have loved whatever they did and loved them. What does he mean when he says the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these? I think he’s saying that innocence and openness are characteristics that he expects to see in those who follow him, not just children but adults too.
The adult world can be a very sad and sick world. I don’t wish to go into it but we all know about the evil that surrounds us and that many glory in. God doesn’t glory in such things and they have no place in the Christian world. God wants us to live pure lives, free of such evil, like children. The Bible word ‘holiness’ can mean purity and God said, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (3) He wants us to be like children in the way we behave, responding simply and enthusiastically to his word, remaining innocent and straightforward, having no side to us. It sounds like an incredibly refreshing way to live, free from the darkness that can haunt and overwhelm us.
Jesus lived a pure life, perfect in every way, the Bible says that he “has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin.” (4) Living in this world he faced the same challenges that we all do, constantly tempted by the evil around us, but unlike us he never gave in to temptation. He lived a pure life from the day he was born until the day he died. You may think that makes him sound boring but far from it. People loved to see him and spend time with him and often you read of him enjoying social occasions. He was very popular, good company and with a story worth listening to. People who were rejected by society found a friend in him, as will everyone who comes to him for salvation. There’s a song that says ‘The best friend to have is Jesus’, and that’s true. He is a friend who loves us enough that he chose to die for us taking the punishment for our sins. Another song says, ‘What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear”.
It’s a sad truth that many children suffer in this world. Every school will have its proportion of pupils who have what I’ll call sad lives, although sad is a very mild word for the suffering they endure. Some of the suffering is at the hands of adults who fail in their duty to protect children. What they do is wrong and we all feel a sense of justice being done when someone is found out, arrested and imprisoned. However, many children are still suffering in silence and their tormentors may never be caught. It seems wrong doesn’t it, and of course, it is. Every child has the right to live a happy, secure and loved life and those who take it from them will not do so without God acting. It may not be in this life, God alone will decide when, but he will judge all who mistreat children. Jesus once said about children, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones” (5) and he will not look kindly on those who do.
- Proverbs 17:6
- Matthew 19:14
- 1 Peter 1:16
- Hebrews 4:15
- Matthew 18:10