I realized this year, that our three year old granddaughter has been exposed to the world in ways I was not quite ready for. However, her parents are prepared and have done an excellent job of teaching her how to be “in” the world, but not “of” the world. They are teaching and modeling Love.
Most of this teaching and guidance has to do with compassion and how to get along with others. When our sweet granddaughter came home with “play” that involved the word “killing,” my daughter quickly redirected her. My daughter let her know that we don’t use that word. Killing after all, is a serious thing. Yet, from another child at her preschool, she had learned something other than what her parents were trying to teach her.
Not every household has the same level of care and compassion for others. Not every parent puts the time or energy into teaching their children more peaceful ways of being in the world. When our granddaughter told her daddy about someone at school who did something she didn’t like, he asked her, “What do you think you can do about that?” She answered, “I can tell her I don’t like that and ask her to please not do it.” In that moment, he was also teaching her how to solve her own problem rather than solving it for her. I knew by observing both of these “teaching moments” that our granddaughter was going to do just fine in life. I am proud of her parents and of our granddaughter.
And a little child shall lead them.
All it took was one question equivalent to “How do you think you can solve that problem in your life?” And this little child had the answer! Of course, it probably took several dedicated lessons on the part of her parents to teach her this appropriate response and action…but keep in mind, she is only three years old! This is the power of just ONE family…teaching their child how to “be” with others. They are setting the foundation for her future in school and her future workplace. Both are often places where bullies rule and compassion is rare. But the power of one, can make an amazing difference!
Oh to see the world through the fresh eyes of a small child! I’m afraid we have each “missed the mark” (aka sinned). We have somehow lost our target, our sight…our vision. We don’t have eyes that see. Somewhere along the way, we have spent less time teaching and practicing compassion and more time competing with or stepping on someone else to get ahead. And yes, this reluctant prophet includes the church when I write this.
Where did we go wrong to find our country and world in its current condition? Where did we (each) somehow “miss the mark” when it comes to getting along with others? And for the church I ask, how did the Christian church become lukewarm or dumb down the Gospel to the point of shoving the Holy Spirit into a corner of the room? We have missed the mark and in so doing, we have missed the living message of loving God and others and showing compassion to those who need it most.
Our priorities have shifted and we need a “re-direct” much like what my daughter did when she helped our granddaughter understand that “killing” is not play.
We need to make room for love and teach those around us what that looks like. And yes, I’ll say it…the church, in order to turn around and go a new direction, needs to make room for the Holy Spirit. We need to be less concerned about time limits on worship, planned programs and getting home on time for the afternoon football game on Sunday and more concerned about what God is trying to say to ALL of us. We need to have eyes to see and ears to hear.
God is speaking to the sleeping Giant. It may be a faint whisper of “Turn around, go a new direction…or maybe the whisper is simply saying, “Stop judging and condemning…just Love them home again.”
Do you have eyes to see and ears to hear? Never under-estimate the power of One!
And a little child shall lead them.