Children through the eyes of Jesus
by Dr. Dave Currie
I was Jesus once. For the very last weekend I served as Pastor at Northview Community Church in Abbotsford, I wrote and directed a drama for Easter. In the drama I was Jesus. At one point, someone wanted to talk to me so I was summoned out of the green room and into the concourse where many parents and children were walking by on their way in or heading back to their cars.
Remember, I was dressed as Jesus. I had the full hair, the Hollywood style beard and makeup and the perfect white and baby blue long robes typical of all the conventional Sunday School pictures of our Lord. While it was rather fun to greet people as Jesus, it was seeing the children’s reaction as they walked by that caught my attention.
The double-takes I got were astounding, especially with the 2-4 year olds. To many I was Jesus, right there in the hallway. I began to see the wonder on their faces. I saw them pull their mother’s dress and point at me. I saw their belief. The moment was too priceless for me to not roll with. So for those between-service moments, I became Jesus…to them.
I began to wave and then bend down and call them over. They came. We talked. I was Jesus in this moment, representing Him. Their trust was so deep. Down at their level, speaking soft and gentle words of encouragement, giving out safe and warm hugs, they took this moment with Jesus at face value. Some, as they walked away, would stop and look back as if to say, “did that just happen?” Others walked away in a matter of fact way, as if to say, “That’s right, I just saw Jesus in the hallway.” I learned so much, feeling what it would have been like to have been Jesus to children. I had the experience of seeing children through the eyes of Jesus.
It might be fair to say that Jesus didn’t say much about children. What is powerful is what He did say and what He did do and the place he held for them in His kingdom.
I’m referring to the biblical event where parents were trying to get their children near Jesus to have Him bless them and pray for them (Matt. 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18). Jesus was addressing a large crowd when the commotion happened. The disciples thought they were doing Jesus a favour by sending them away. These parents and their kids were heading away, heads down and discouraged.
Jesus heard the commotion and perceived what was happening. Scripture says He was indignant at the decision the disciples had made. As He reproved the disciples, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Then He addressed the parents with their children and took the time to bless and pray for each one. “And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them”. Wow. What a beautiful snapshot into the life of Jesus and His love and compassion for children.
In this event, we see six ways Jesus modeled how we should treat our little ones. We’d be wise to copy Him in how we approach our children and grandchildren…all children for that matter.
Time confirms value
Jesus was saying, “I always have time for kids.” Can we say to our children, “You are never an interruption”?
Often we are finding ways to keep them busy so we can get something done. Slow down. Stop and take time to enjoy life from your child’s perspective. To give your attention is to give your time and this always says, ‘I value you’. Be with them. Be present. Be engaged. Let your actions say ‘I value you’ enough to shut down life for you.
Tone conveys welcome
He said, “let the children come…” He called to them, a warm welcome to the kids. This welcome tone was soft, gentle and inviting. Tone is a biggie. What does your tone say to your kids? Do they hear, “Hurry up, we’re late. Why are you being so difficult? Can’t you do anything right? How many times have I told you?” Your tone says way more than your words. Can they sense your warmth, feel your excitement and recognize your acceptance?
Touch convinces love
Remember, Jesus took these children in His arms, He picked them up, put them on His lap. The human spirit longs to be touched, longs to be cherished, and longs to connect. Gently touch your children to confirm they are loved. Squeeze them tight. Caress their faces. Scratch their backs. Tickle them playfully. Connect face to face. Look at them with pride! Embrace them warmly, safely and appropriately. Rough treatment and harsh discipline must be out. Don’t ever discipline your children in anger. Get on the floor with your children, rolling, playing, wrestling, tickling, piggybacking, play-fighting, dancing, whatever. Engage warmly and hug freely.
Talk communicates approval
Jesus put His hands on the children and blessed them. A blessing in Scripture was usually words of encouragement. Share your love. Actually say, “I love you.” Children need to hear those words often. Don’t leave them wondering and doubting, only to need to be looking later for love in all the wrong places. Speak out your affirmation. Build them up constructively. Words of blessing do the most to convey your utmost approval.
It’s like your kids come into your world as a blank slate. As parents, you write on their hearts every day and the sum total of the message you’ve conveyed is who the child believes they are. By your words, you shape who they will become.
Trusting them to God creates dependence
The people brought their children to Jesus for him to bless them and to pray for them. You should too. Pray for them. Pray with them, for them. Teach them how to pray. Promise them you’ll pray for them. Trust them to God daily. I needed serious help here, I set daily phone alarms – reminders to pray for each kid at a certain time each day. Those alarms went off for six years straight – every day, every year. I learned to pray for my kids. The power of a praying parent is so significant. Jesus prayed for children. Why not make this your next serious life-change? Commit to pray more consistently and more comprehensively for your kids.
Tracks clarify direction
When Jesus was done blessing and praying for the children “He went on from there.” Though not a profound statement, His direction was clear. The path you leave for your children must be clear, consistent and uncompromising. Jesus said to many, “Follow me.” His example was clear. It is essential that you model the lifestyle you want your children to embrace.
Set the direction for your family. Let your life speak. 1 Corinthians 11:1 says, “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” That’s the best way to lead your family.
Who you are within the four walls of your home is who you really are. And remember, that’s the you your kids see 24/7. The greater the relationship, the greater the influence! The more you follow Jesus’ example of loving children, the more you will end up genuinely connected to them. And in turn, the greater your life and lips will have an impact on them.
A stern warning…
Jesus said this. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).
Love children like the Saviour did. Give Your time; change your tone; soften your touch; change your talk; display your trust in God; watch your tracks. Be the example God wants you to be. They are likely to follow you.
I’d love to hear from you at www.doingfamilyright.com. Our team of therapists is willing and available to help you with any of the challenges you are facing with your little ones.