Monday, March 3, 2014

Selfish or Selfless?

Matthew 18:1-5 - At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me."

Isn't it just like us to question if we are better than someone else? Oh, the pride. The thing is, none of us are better than another. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. All of us. And to think otherwise is also pride. We are to come as little children. I've said this many times before. Jesus loved the little children. They were important to Him. He did not cast them aside.

Anyway, that's just the intro to this whole thing! This is something I have contemplated writing for a very long time...and I have had this written for several days. Today I am owning it. I love my new church (of a year now), The Church in Wisconsin. I have often wondered how God would have planted this church in my path and why because it is filled with young families and lots of children and babies, as well as the truth of God's Word, which is very important!

I did not have children and never learned how to deal with them. I was raised an only child, to add to the history (spoiled, selfish). I have, in the past, thought some babies were cute but never wanted much more to do with them. I managed to steer clear of them. Maybe it was a hidden defense of mine...stuff down what you have not had so it won't hurt. Logical defense mechanism.

For a very long time I've had a secret, known only by a very few people. Long before I was born again...before I received Christ...back before my first marriage, when I was young and foolish and vulnerable, I allowed myself to be swayed. I did an unthinkable thing. I had an abortion. That is very hard to write.

I was five months from getting married. To be honest I don't know whose idea it was. I can surmise but I don't want to. It happened. I believe I have forgiven all in this situation, including myself. I know when I received Jesus one day, my sins, and this one in particular, were forgiven. And only He could have orchestrated years later a very real, wonderful encounter with Jesus as I fed and burped probably the only baby I ever did this to.

Not until I joined this delightfully life and love filled church did I start to warm to children. Not the first few weeks but in time. These children are not farmed off to a nursery so parents can "enjoy" their worship and sermon, maintaining they can be more focused on the worship and sermon. No, these children are part of the family. When I say we are a family, that's what it is, the way it should be. How I love these children!

When I first started attending I couldn't tell whose children were whose because there is a lot of sharing and loving going on! When one family isn't able to attend church because of work or sickness, another family will bring their children. There is so much lack of self. Do I wish I'd had even one child? Yes. You grow differently. Self is not as important. Such an important part of being a true Christian. 

As Jesus said, become as little children to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Jesus loved the little children. He rebuked His own disciples for wanting them out of His way. I wonder if He would suggest putting them in a peer environment? Children are like sponges, aren't they? Aren't we surprised at what they understand even at a very young age? Why shouldn't they learn how to act in church as children; why shouldn't parents learn how to discipline and children learn to be displined?

What does any of this have to do with my admission? I am sorry that I had to lose a child, to grow from that point into believing children are a waste of time and only take away from the things we wanted to do, that it was okay to not have children. As I did a search on the phrase (which I never came across) that was so prevalent in those days, I came across site after site proclaiming that purposely not having children was admirable, not selfish, that there was a completeness without them, that people could have it all without children, that children tie them down. I can't even comprehend what God thinks of these statements.

Just my thinking, but Jesus did not want those children removed. He said, for of such is the kingdom of God. Again, children were important to Him. To add to that, the Bible states abortion is murder. Imagine what He must think today about all the people willing to give up a child because it is inconvenient. And I get it about rape; there is still adoption. Sadly, I can add murder to my list of sins....yet which has been forgiven of me by my receiving Christ (in addition to other sins).

I think about how different my life would have been, how I'd have grown up less selfish, giving more, loving more. Perhaps that is why I am at The Church in Wisconsin, to learn to grow more into these attributes, which are more Christ-like attitudes. I pray it is so. I believe I came to Christ as a child, willing to accept what was in the Bible. Willing to believe all that Jesus said and what was written by various individuals, in both Old and New Testaments, by the Spirit of God. 

I have come to grips with my indiscretion and sin(s) of years ago. I have come to realize that not only is this child in heaven but that we will be reunited some day. I learned back then to be hard hearted and maybe I still need some healing. I pray more of that would be chipped away that I would become a softer person. Yet...Jesus lovingly did in the Spirit for me what He did for real with children...He took them...and me...up in His arms...and showed His love for me...despite what I did. That's a whole other story.

If Christ is able to forgive me of this, He is able to open anyone's eyes to their indiscretions, whatever they might be, and forgive anyone. He is in the forgiving, saving, redeeming and sanctifying business (but first He has to show you the yuck). And if we do not ever get to this place of admitting our sin, turning from it and leaning on Christ, we will encounter the wrath of God. And He is most desirous for all to come to Him as a little child asking for forgiveness. You cannot imagine the peace and freedom that comes from letting go of those things that so consume. We must allow ourselves to go to Jesus as a child and take Him in. What joy and peace there is. 

Now to press the "publish" button...

Mark 10:13-16 - Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, my friend, for sharing your heart and your story. This is when the freeing comes, and there is nothing more satisfying than to be free in Christ! Love you!