One of the most familiar passages of the Bible dealing with children is Matthew 19:13-15 , which reads: “Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” It can be hard for us to understand how we are little children in the eyes of God. After all, many of us are in a hurry to grow up, to think of ourselves as free from the limitations of childhood. Yet most of us are not necessarily well-equipped for the responsibilities of adulthood, including such important matters as marriage and raising children of our own. And yet once we hit 18, we are judged to be adults with the responsibilities that result. How well prepared are we to live our lives in such a way as may serve others, may be rewarding to ourselves, and may give glory to our Heavenly Father? Remember that you are a child too, and no matter what kind of upbringing one had, one has a loving Father in heaven who wishes the best for us, even if we don’t always do a good job for ourselves.
This morning there was a girl who was feeling inconsolable and wanted to be held by me, so I held her for more than twenty minutes before services. Truthfully, I needed the holding as much as she did, because I did not have a particularly good night last night  and ended up being woken up by a nightmare and unable to unwind myself enough to get back to sleep again. Sometimes all that is needed is to hold and be held, to love and be loved, and there are many times where we see suffering children of all ages and we just want to hug them and hold them and help them feel better, to let them know that they aren’t alone and that people do care for them and wish the best for them and that they do not need to worry or despair. Sometimes this concern and affection is appreciated, and sometimes it is not. This was even true for Jesus Christ, so it is all the more true for us. As it is written in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Sometimes we want to love and simply have to hold it in. Remember you are a child too, and not everyone responds in kind to our feelings and wishes. God willing, someone appropriate does.
Sometimes children of all ages can do things that are infuriating. Whether it is people continually doing things that they know are upsetting, when they have been told, sometimes over and over again, that they are upsetting, or whether it is people simply acting their age (physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual), or whether it is acting in such a way that parents have to deal with added problems because of lax standards from those who are serving temporarily in loco parentis, sometimes we have to restrain ourselves, sometimes we have to be longsuffering and patient even when those qualities are not recognized, sometimes we have to remember that as adults (no matter how stressed out or burdened we may feel) that we have to treat others with understanding because they are children. After all, that is the way that God deals with us, with extreme patience and gentleness given the fact that we all do a lot that is infuriating to Him. Remember that you are a child too, and as you treat the children in your life, so will you be treated by your Father above.
It is an easy thing to know in our heads that we are children too, and that we have to be understanding with the children in our lives. Theory in this area, as in so much else in life, is far easier and far more cut and dry than practice. While theory is necessary, it is not sufficient, because it is with the children of our lives and their behaviors that they do that we build our character, and that we help shape our own lives and the lives of others. There is no escape, so long as we are involved with other people, from having to deal with children. Inside of all of us, sometimes obviously so and sometimes less obviously so, is a child in some aspect of life. Some are openly innocent and curious and somewhat awkward but adorable creatures who are always getting themselves into trouble but are difficult to be angry with. Others are children in denial, attempting to pass themselves off as older than they really are. It doesn’t matter. We had all better be able to handle children well, given that we are looking forward to a lot of practice in it, if we seek to follow God’s ways. Remember that you are a child too, as long as it helps you be more patient and understanding with others.