When it comes to the demonstration of extreme grace, kindness and understanding, “Christians” aren’t much better at it than the rest of the world.
I absolutely love watching little kids. I love the look of wonder and amazement when they see the Christmas tree lights come on. I love the look of pride and accomplishment when they put two lego blocks together. I love the look of joy when they kick a soccer ball… in any direction. I love the look on their faces when they feel like they are priceless. I love the look of vulnerability and dependence when they instinctively need the care of a parent. I love watching their arms go up when they need to be held. I love the look of innocence when they think they might be in trouble. I love the look value on the face of a little kid that gets to play with the big kids. There is something about little kids that draw out the best in almost everyone.
I also love watching big people when they interact with little people. Anyone with a feeling bone in their body changes when little people walk into the room. We give them our full attention and we listen intently to hear what they are trying to say. We protect them from being hurt and we are patient when they make a mistake. We defend them from bullies. We get on the floor and play at their level and we love making them smile. Little kids are so hard to say “no” to and we naturally want to give generously to them. We will go lengths to make sure they are given all they need for life.
All of us “grown up” people were little at one time… and yet still as vulnerable and valuable. I don’t think the basic needs of children change when we become adults, we just get better at hiding them. Why then do we treat each other with far less care than we treat children? Can you imagine a community and a world where we all treated each other with the same precious attention as we do children? With people we interact with regularly—family, co-workers, church, neighbors, or friends—people who should get the best of us, we acquiesce in these relationships from passive neglect to grumpy familiarity. And with people we don’t know at all, we often just simply don’t care enough to treat them with remarkable value.
Adult hearts want to be as valued and as safe as little ones. We need to be as careful with grown ups as we are with children. So ask yourself… How do I come across with people around me? Do I verbalize to people how important they are? Do I come across as impatient or frustrated with people? Do I say careless things in careless ways because I assume people can handle it? Do I make people feel bad about themselves as a means of motivation?
God treasures the oldest and crustiest of us more than we could ever treasure a child. But we play favorites with each other.
God… please make me see people, and treat them, like you do.