Sermons

Summary: Contrast the attitude of Jesus and how others treat chidlren

My husband and I took our two-year-old daughter to the home-improvement store. Madison got tired of walking, so my husband let her ride on his shoulders. As he walked, Madison began pulling his hair. Although he asked her to stop several times, she kept on. Getting annoyed, he scolded, "Madison! Stop that!" "But, Daddy," she replied, "I’m just trying to get my gum back." Yuck!

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother has several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?"

Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."

The little girl thought about this revelation for while and then said, "Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?" Ouch!

This little girl is a very keen observer of human nature, isn’t she? Well, parents, are your hairs turning white or turning bald from hairs being pulled in every direction? Those who are involved in childcare know the real story. As one person observed: “The experience of having children has made me far more sympathetic to the early Puritans who didn’t use words like "innate goodness" to describe human nature. They used words like "total depravity." Total depravity! Jesus said we are supposed to be like children to receive the kingdom of God? I can only join with millions of other parents and conclude that our Lord didn’t know my kids when He made that statement. When you walk into the bathroom and see an entire roll of brand new tissue paper lying in the toilet, it makes you wonder. When you see a whole pile of freshly washed and folded clothes lying all over the place like a tornado had hit, it makes you wonder. When you see your child sitting on the kitchen floor, trying to share her plate of food with the dog, it makes you wonder. And that’s just the one-year-old at work! Imagine the three- and the six-year-old when they put their talents together! Sometimes it makes you more than wonder; sometimes it makes you cry. Look at a group of kindergarteners some day and ask yourself: what can these kids teach us about receiving the kingdom of God?” Erskine White, Together In Christ, C.S.S. Publishing Company, 1990.

How do you react to the true nature of children? Feel some hair turning white?

On June 20, 2001, a number of us heard the story of Andrea Yates, the Texas mother who drowned her five small children in the family’s bathtub. We struggle to understand why. According to doctors’ reports, Andrea struggled with mental illness and a deep sense of inadequacy. Retreated to her own world. She felt like a failure as a mother. She began searching the Bible for answers to her problems. Instead of insight or inspiration, Andrea found only words of condemnation. She believed that she was possessed by the Satan. She also believed that her bad parenting had damaged her children’s characters beyond repair. But does the Bible teach to get rid of depravity by killing off your own child? Timothy Roche, "The Yates Odyssey," TIME Magazine, Jan. 28, 2002, pp. 42-50.

March 2002, here in our province we heard the story of Sebastian, 11, Roxanne, 9, Martial, 7, Moriah, 6, Levi, 4, and Ledia, 2 killed by their father, in a house fire. September 2003 in court, Jay Handel admits he killed his six children because he wanted to save them from hell on Earth.

How does God view children? Does He view them as some annoying pesky little thing that deserves to be wiped out much like the way disturbed individuals such as Andrea Yates or Jay Handel think? Does God say, kill them so they may be spared of hell on earth or that they are a waste of time? Or does God value them, treat them gently, welcoming them? Turn with me to the Bible…

13Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.

14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." 15When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV)

Did you really hear what the Bible said here? Did you hear Jesus welcomes children? Did Jesus shoo them away because they do not have a perfect life? Jesus certainly knows very well that children are not altogether innocent yet he welcomes them, touches them, values them, gives precious time and prays for them. Look again, compare the response of Jesus and the response of the disciples, will u? The disciples seem keen to shoo everybody away that brought children to Jesus. They were downright hostile, they were inconvenienced. They were beside themselves. But look at Jesus, he says let them come to me, don’t stop it, he touched them as if they were the most precious things and he prayed for them. This is consistent with what God said in the OT…

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