Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stumbling After Jesus -- Christianity Today

Stumbling After Jesus -- Christianity Today:

Stan Guthrie writes:
"Recently, my eight-year-old son left Sunday school frowning. It seems a couple of his classmates had been making fun of me. (I have moderate cerebral palsy, a birth condition that causes my erratic gait.) That afternoon, I sat down with him over clear plastic cups, each filled with two scoops of Reese's ice cream, and asked if he was embarrassed. No, he was angry. I took a deep breath. At me? At God? No, at them.

'What did you say to them?' I asked. ''If you do it again,'' he repeated, ''I'll tell your dads!''

The innate cruelty of children needs no documentation. And their loud questions, stares, and snickering are almost to be expected when they see me wobble across a room. Little materialists, they cannot grasp how God might be working in and through me. My son, however, probably taught his two fellow Sunday schoolers something of the fierce but unseen love of a boy for his father. ..."
I have seen my own son as well as the children of others growing in the context of their families, the congregation in which we worship, and the public schools, and I have to say that "innate cruelty" does not do justice to a very complex set of inborn and learned behaviors.

Children seem to have an instinctive concern for people who are hurting physically or spiritually. This becomes evident before many of them can talk. Of course I accept that we all (including children) share a "... sinful nature, prone to evil, and slothful in good ...", but it seems that many children are born with empathy for others only to have it suppressed by the time they finish elementary school.

The rest of this article is interesting, and Stan Guthrie reminds us that God never promised that life would be easy.

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