As I have processed difficult things in my life one scripture has come up to the front in Matthew 19. Previously I translated this scripture to be about actual little children, which it is. But there’s also another meaning that impacts us all, regardless of age. The reason I can say this is because in this scripture, Christ says, the kingdom belongs to these. So does this mean if I am an adult am I disqualified? Do I have to remain a child to inherit His kingdom? It is obvious that there is a meaning deeper than just small children. The way I’m reading it is our connection to our inner child and deep heart.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
Matthew 19:14 NLT
I love this so much because it’s a call of acceptance from the very Savior who saved me. It’s saying, “Don’t withhold your boy from My ability to touch him!” Often when we become adults we compartmentalize those unacceptable parts. We see them as inferior and irrelevant. We try to shine with maturity and having it altogether. What I’m learning is that this position only prevents us from maturing rather than creates an environment for maturity.
Little Children is Heart
Living life with a heart, in vulnerability, can be frightening. But to face life with your heart and with the Savior’s gaze is amazingly healing. And ultimately there is an incredible level of restoration we can experience when we do not prevent the little child from coming. The guy who has it all together is actually not the guy Christ originally came to save. I might have to be saved out of my adultness, but Jesus came to rescue the child and give him the kingdom.
Now in saying all this I’m not giving way to psychobabble. But I do think that Christ had a reason for each of us not to prevent our child from coming. It’s deeply about our hearts, and allowing Him to engage these hearts as He heals us of the wounds He sovereignly let us experience.
It’s so easy to go into bitterness or fear or shame about our childhood wounds. Many of us acted foolishly making one bad choice after the next. We were deeply in need of a Savior, who would liberate us from our fallen state. And as I have engaged my boy with my Savior, He has exploded my world with great adventure and joy.
Resisting the Child
I resisted this work for years, at the beginning I tried to bring my polished up version of myself. I thought there was no way that Jesus would love the messier younger me. The one who felt things deeply, the one who cried in the pains of life, and the one who was vulnerable and had no ability to solve that which was happening. This child, at a complete loss, had one perfect gift to give, my utter dependence and complete vulnerability. This child knew he needed a Savior even if he tried with all his might do not need Him.
I have discussed on this blog, and written in my books about my struggle with weakness. I shunned that vulnerability and resisted that reality. I would be strong not weak. This stance only produced hardship and difficulty. It prevented me from experiencing Him and myself as His created being. My resistance was shameful and it caused me much hardship and grief.
So now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, I see the necessity to embrace that vulnerable weak one and not prevent that child from coming. I can remember when I first heard about the child, I approached it with frustration. I thought, “What do you mean my child, it’s me?” I couldn’t access that part of me because I wasn’t fully accessing my heart. I didn’t live in my heart with my Savior, I just lived life. What I have seen is that you have to live with intentionality towards that heart and allow Christ to embrace and receive it. As long as I resisted the boy “my heart“ I resisted the God who created him.
It’s work, even if it is constructive it sometimes feels like it’s easier to live without that sticky organ, the heart. And Jesus says, the heart is desperately wicked, who can know it (Jeremiah 17:9). But it is specifically that one He came to save. It is my desperately wicked self not my made up pretty self He wants to engage. It’s the heart that can experience joy, ecstasy, grief, and sadness. It’s the heart that teams with wonder as we experience the adventure of life. Passion flows from the heart of a man, where simple intensity flows from the mind. Accessing the heart is like tapping into a great oil reserve. It burns with the fire and as Jesus directs that blaze we can burn bright in Him.
On hearing this, Jesus told them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”