“And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” Mark 10:13-16
There is so much to be learned from the lives of little ones. A baby’s first introduction into the world is one filled with a dependence on those around them that can take care of their every need. As they grow and develop some independence, it will still be many years that we see beautiful character traits that we yearn to have for ourselves. When we look back on our own lives, we might remember the times when we carried the same traits. One trait in particular is pure and genuine love for others.
Life has a way of hardening us. Painful events, broken dreams and betrayals from those we trusted most can change us. Nobody ever intends to let bitterness and small bits of hatred to seep into their hearts. Even so, it happens.
When we find ourselves battling those feelings, let’s take a little time to reflect on the hearts of the children around us. How many times have we seen them disappointed, yet back to having a hopeful and cheerful disposition only moments later? How often have they bickered with a friend or sibling, only to be seen playing together shortly thereafter?
We may feel that their problems are minor compared to ours, and that is true in many cases. For a child, it doesn’t feel that way, but that’s ok. They’re learning. However, how many of our minor problems have we turned into major issues because pride or a lack of allowing God’s Spirit to work in us?
As adults, we don’t generally tell children to hold on to grudges when they have a falling out with a friend. No, rather we tell them to forgive. Their little friends made a mistake, or just a perceived mistake. As adults we can see beyond the fault, recognizing a sincere and precious person left with a scar of separation, brought on by unforgiveness at that moment. In most instances, the grudge will be gone in minutes. And in all actuality, the heart of a child often doesn’t need any coaxing to forgive at all.
Is this much different from those of us whose heavenly Father is looking on? Does he see that worthwhile soul that we turned away from because of a careless mistake? God has a great desire for unity in humanity. Are we being mindful of this wish when it comes to our efforts to forgive others?
If we have sincere friends, we need to hold on to them! All of us have had moments that clearly weren’t out best. We need to realize our friends do too. Let us not forget to become like children when it comes to love and forgiveness of others. Our efforts for unity are pleasing to the Lord and loving our friends past their faults is a great blessing to us.