Psalm 26, Matthew 18:1-4, James 4:7-12
We are not talking naiveite or ignorance. We are talking about innocence.
Think of a baby. A parent tosses them up in play, smiling at this bundle of joy. The baby smiles, too, imitating the parent. Yet, for the first few times they are tossed up, they instinctively understand that this sensation is wrong. Despite that, their parent, their trusted person, is smiling. Trust overrides. A child-like faith.
We actually have more child-like faith than we think, but it’s trusting others: engineers, mechanics, military and first responders. Even with other we have child-like faith that those around us know what they are doing, even though the traffic and accidents should teach us otherwise.
James takes the “adult” approach. He’s working with those adults. He has to unwind the ways of the world from their minds and hearts. Cast aside your worldly ways, he says. When he talks about mourning and weeping, it is to recognize what we are in the world. Mourning and weeping are signs of grieving; grieving for our worldly selves; grieving for the world.
So much of what we have to unwind is ourselves. Some have claimed that it was pride that led to the Fall of Adam and Eve (and thus mankind). All of what James writes of comes from our pride. A child of faith has pride…pride in God, not self. This is not to diminish self, for we are made in God’s image. We are not to see ourselves as better than others, for all are equal before God.
An untrained (or untainted) child will treat others equally, no matter how different they are. Only when adults condition them to judge those different than themselves that children become cruel, and then we all have to deal with the pain of that cruelty.
1) What does child-like faith mean to you? How do you live that out in a world that is “adult”?
2) Why do we often put ourselves in the role of lawgiver and judge?
3) Why do we judge when we ourselves don’t want to be judged?
KD) What do you do when kids treat others differently then they would want to be treated?