Matthew 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Jesus loved children. I mean, who doesn’t, right? Children are a reflection of one’s self in a purer sense. They are cute and fun to be around (sometimes). They are our future — they will carry our legacy into days we will not see. There are lots of reasons to love them, but I want to focus on one found in the above passage.
Just recently, I have learned a new appreciation for my children. They started school this year and began spending a lot of time with other kids and adults from diverse types of religious, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. I wanted to teach them about diversity and tolerance. I wanted to teach them about loving others less fortunate; but how do you do that? So we sent them off into the din of diversity of thought and privilege.
Turns out, children aren’t naturally racist or elitist – they need little to no training in how to love people well. They made friends immediately and not with the kids I would’ve predicted at the opening assembly. They didn’t see skin color or stylish (or even clean) clothes or family dynamic. (Jake told me one of his friends has two moms.) They just saw other people. They value them as people just like them.
This leaves me wondering if Jesus loved children differently than we do. He said, let them come to me, don’t disallow them. Then he said something profound – “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Maybe, just maybe, children have something to teach us about the kingdom. They show us what unconditioned love and acceptance looks like. They show us a pureness of heart that sees people simply as people rather than fat, poor, black, or white. They give us a glimpse of our future existence when we will all love like they do. So, let’s love our children and learn from them what Jesus said they show us – the Kingdom of God. And let’s pray that the Kingdom would be manifested in us grown-ups as well.