Sunday, March 9, 2014

Do you love the little children?

 I saw a little girl today. She was about two, and like many two-year-olds she was happy and bubbly and uninhibited. She smiled and I couldn't help but smile in return. She was so beautiful, and I was struck by how precious all little children are.  What person doesn't love a child? Their cuteness draws us to them, makes us want to protect and help them. We feel a deep societal need to protect them. We are angry with people who harm them or fail to properly nurture them. We make all kinds of laws to protect them, to make sure that they are not allowed to encounter any unnecessary dangers so that they can grow up and reach their full potentials.

But as I watched this little girl today, I began to wonder what happens. It seems that at some point they lose the cuteness, and we lose interest in protecting them. Look at the adults around you. How many of them do you love? How many do you feel a need to nurture and protect? How many of them annoy you? Do you talk about them behind their backs? Complain about all the annoying things they do? Do you steal from them, lie to them, curse them, yell at them or insult them? What would you say to someone who treated a child in the way you treat them? They were once cute, lovable little babies. They were innocent souls in need of protection.

I guess we failed to adequately protect them, because as they grew, they were exposed to all the excesses and sins of society. They were corrupted. They became… like us. But somewhere deep inside is still that small child, that innocent soul looking for love and affirmation and encouragement. Are they getting it?

When God looks down on us I believe that he sees the little babies hidden inside. He loves us and nurtures us just like babies. Sometimes his love hurts. Just like when we give our children immunizations, discipline them for doing wrong or tell them no in regard to something they want but which might harm them.

But always God loves us, no matter what we do. Just like we love our children no matter what they do. The greatest command is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself, to treat others the way you want them to treat you. Is there a little child hidden inside you, longing for love?

I’d like to challenge you to take a new outlook. Instead of looking at people and seeing them as they are now, try to picture them as the cute little babies that they once were; the toddlers running around; the little girl or boy proudly bringing home a painting from school, even though it just looks like a blob. Try to love them with the unconditional love that we shower on our children, the love we ourselves desire. Admire them, encourage them, engage them, uplift them. And pray for them. Pray that they will become the perfect souls that God created them to be.