Thursday, June 28, 2012

Learning From a Child

One of the most memorable teachings of Jesus is about childlikeness.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:1-6)
Why children? Why didn't Jesus say, "Learn from the adults?" Perhaps, there is a certain innocence and purity in children. Little kids have a unique way to lowering our guard, to cause us to be more reflective on ourselves. The context of the passage above is about living humbly like a child. Accept a child. Do not stumble a child lest we receive a heavier punishment. Welcome a child for there are lots we can learn from children. If there is an innocence scale from 1 to 10, chances are, the children will be on the side of innocence, while adults on hypocrisy.

What about working parents who cheat in their offices or relationships, telling their kids not to steal? What about bosses telling their subordinates to obey the rules, but they themselves break the very rules they make? What about people telling lies when they are saying to others the importance of telling the truth? One word describes it all: Hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is everywhere. The former President of the University of Notre Dame, Theodore M Hesburgh makes this astute observation of human behaviour that, "All of us are experts at practicing virtue at a distance." Having heard too many accusations of churches being hypocrites, I feel that hypocrisy is tainted in the hearts of all people. In some cases, hypocrisy can be described as one having double standards, or an inconsistent way of living. The one who claims he is not a hypocrite has already pronounced judgment on himself.

This video is a vivid demonstration of adults who behave one way toward children, but alone, they do the very things they tell children NOT to do. (Thanks to KP for sharing this.) Note that we can easily substitute "SMOKING" with any other examples, like stealing, vengefulness, gossip, malice, etc.


Do to others what you want others to do to you. In the same way you teach others, do likewise.


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