Little Child

MATTHEW 18:2 TO 18:5

            He called a little child and had him stand among them.  And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven".  Therefore, who ever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

            "And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."

     Jesus said, "I tell you the truth," I believe He wants me to tell the truth too.  Truth is simple, but not necessarily easy.  As a child enters a room of strangers, they are usually shy or somewhat hesitant.  As they evaluate the situation they determine if those around them are 'safe people' to interact with.  If they believe it's safe gradually they become interactive, curious, and inquiring.  There is no need to hide or be guarded.  This environment provides a positive place for nurturing healthy relationships. 

            Yet there are times in our lives where it is not safe.  Most of us don't live in a perfect world having complete safety in our environment.  As we develop we learn different ways to protect ourselves in order to feel safe.  For example in my family of origin one way to create an unsafe place was for me to express anger.  We all have different family systems, with different 'rules'. Within mine, certain thoughts and feelings were unacceptable, anger was considered to be a 'bad' feeling therefore I was taught not to express it.  So without knowing how or why I learned to deny a natural human response. My family believed children who were angry were 'bad', or out of control.  Early I learned any action displaying anger would usually cause them to get much angrier than me, creating emotional outbursts or harsh discipline. 

            Over time I learned to instantly change angry feelings into sadness.  Perhaps this sadness was the response of being fearful of what could happen if I let my anger show.  The feeling of sadness was acceptable and not perceived as rebellion.  Sadness would not create unsafely.  It was through this process I learned to mask my true feelings.   Choosing acceptable 'responses' within my family system, as it became normal for me to where the mask of sadness as it covered up my honest response.  This became simply a tool to cope in my 'limited world'.  Thus enabling me to fit into my particular family structure, and fit into my 'role'.  In order to get my needs met, I would have to comply with these rules or risk being rejected.  From that point on I would react with tears and sadness to what would normally make a person feel angry.  Soon I lost the natural ability to react with healthy anger.

            Loosing my ability to be angry took away my ability to protect myself in certain situations.  When another child would hit me, I would not be able to defend myself.  I would cry and become a victim.  Getting angry and standing up for myself was lost in this process. I became comfortable in a victim role. I lost the God-given ability to say, "No!"  Fear of others anger would become something that would have a powerful effect on me.  In fact, fear of others would drive me more than God's love. 

            Fear of man's anger motivated me more than God's love and grace.  Without realizing it I learned to live in response to others actions.  Soon I learned to fear man far more than God.  Without knowing any of this I was trying to create my own safety.  I did not understand God was my Protector and Safety.   I gave "man" power over me. 


Psa 111:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

 I didn't understand to fear God and was the beginning of wisdom.  There is a healthy awareness of not wanting to displease my Heavenly Father, rather than fear of displeasing 'man.'  Confusion reigned in most of my relationships, never knowing what safety or honesty was.  My life was dominated with dishonesty, confusion, misguided feelings, and fear of the wrong things.

            Masking my true feelings turned into an obstacle barring open and honest

relationships.  I no longer knew I was being dishonest, I lost the ability to know I had put on a mask.  This "mask" is highly valued in today's world.  In society, certain cultures put an ever-increasing value on this self-protection defense.  Over time the mask becomes permanent, and the one wearing it isn't even aware that it is in place.  This interferes with all our relationships, but most importantly our intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father.

            As a parent I have the responsibility of teaching my children to be honest.  This is not easy.  It takes Godly wisdom, self-awareness, and self-honesty to be a wise parent.  Parents are usually the first people that 'little children' learn to put their trust in.  If a child has parents that are unable to be honest with themselves, the child will grow up with a confused sense of reality.  Good parents know that their true job is to teach their children to learn to take care of themselves with Godly wisdom.  Parents can teach a child to come to them with honesty IF they respond to their child with honesty.  There is no reason to be fearful of being truthful, for parent or child.  Both learn to speak the truth and this leads to trust.  My Heavenly Father, through Jesus saying over 79 times in the New Testament "I tell you the truth" emphasizes the importance of this.

                        When I became a Christian learning to be honest with my Heavenly Father was so new to me.  I was afraid he would get angry.  The problem was that I had a lot to learn about my "New Father".  Slowly He would teach me.   I didn't know how to listen for His voice at first.  I believed there was only one answer--my way.  It took time for me to learn the way I could hear my "New Dad".  I learned that He had many different ways of answering me.  Through The Word, nature, people, His ways are not limited.  The Holy Spirit speaks spiritual truths to me in spiritual ways.  It would take time for me to grow in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, to learn to trust Him, and to learn to be honest with Him.

                        There was a problem with my understanding whom my Heavenly Father was; I would confuse Him with my earthly father.  It would take time getting to know my New Father more intimately than my earthly one.  Time to learn there were differences between them.  Time to straighten out areas of my rebellion, which I didn't even know, were there.  Rebellion was my response when I was terrified.    When I was in a position that I could see no safety, my response would be terror, this might resemble an attitude of not caring to rage, but to the observer--rebellion.  I began to ask myself why, checking my motives, and slowly began to ask others to help me be honest.  Reactions are usually warranted by some false-belief system.  If fear would drive me, then terror would freeze my ability to have a healthy response.  It would take a long time for me to understand my limited human thinking.  I thought I knew what I needed, and just like a "little child" I would get sad (with hidden anger) if I didn't get my way.  As time went on and my relationship grew more intimate with my 'Heavenly Father' I learned to go to Him as my unconditionally loving Father.  I learned to trust 'His' wisdom in decision-making.  The truth was I didn't even know what I needed.  Soon I discovered He knew what was best for me.  I also learned this Heavenly Father of mine wanted constant relationship.  No matter what was going on inside of me, and He already knew, and still He wanted me to come to Him.  This began to teach me to be honest and that's what He wanted me to be with Him and myself then with others but especially my own children.  The relationships began to strengthen through honest disclosure, learning to accept each other.  We want our children to be as honest as they can with us.  As our relationship grew so did my honesty and dependence on my new Father.  Learning to come to Him more frequently, with smaller needs and secret desires.  He never laughed, or shamed me, but encouraged more and more contact. 

                        Very slowly I learned to pray.  "Not my will but, Thy will be done."  The problem is I'm not always aware of my self-deception.  I said "Thy Will be Done" but did not mean it.  Somehow I would deceive myself so well that it would take an incredibly patient 'Father' to expose the motives in my heart.  Over a period of time I would learn that it was safe to admit my weaknesses to Him.  Through The Word I would learn how Jesus would not lean on His understanding, but even He would submit to His Father's, by praying if it be "Your will."  If God's will and my wills' were the same, everything was O.K.  Soon as there was a difference in what I thought should happen, there would be a problem.  Maybe on the outside I would act mature, but inwardly I would be having a two-year-old temper tantrum.  I wanted "MY  WAY."  That old hidden anger was working it's way up right in front of my face.  But with that it became easier to be honest sooner, and too surrender quicker. 

                        Learning about my 'Heavenly Father' and His superior vision allowed me to understand why I didn't know what is best for me.  This allowed me to begin to understand why I might choose to obey.  Like a "little child" I had no way of knowing, when I obeyed Him, that the willingness alone, could make me feel 'closer with God.'  That doesn't mean denial of my secret hope, or hidden desires.  God's desire for me is always perfect; when I submit my heart to God's, my desires are changed to be like His.

Eze. 36:26And I will give you a new heart—I will give you new and right desires—and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love. 27And I will put my Spirit within you so that you will obey my laws and do whatever I command.  (Living Translation)

As I learn to believe more and more that God is a perfect parent I will live my life differently.  Living, believing, knowing I am receiving His unconditional love will change my unhealthy behaviors.  These changes come from my intimate relationship with God.  Free, enjoyable, comfortable, deep, and sometimes painful, as refinement takes place.  This relationship is at the core of my being.  My worth is no longer connected to any works.  Any fruit that is produced through me is simply God's love overflowing.  God is the Good One.  I am simply His 'little child'.  Whom He loved enough to die for.     

            Jesus clearly states that we must change into "little children."  Without this change we cannot get into heaven.  This statement seems so contrary to my image of a mature Christian.   I misunderstood what a mature Christian was.  Independence was maturity, or so I thought.  The world's society values this idea of self-dependence. 

Christ-esteem vs. self-esteem

Blessed Assurance vs. self-assurance,

Confidence in God vs. self-confidence

            Somehow I had gotten very confused, but looking back I can see how the world takes the Godly way and makes it worldly.  The world is so busy, but my God is not. Today I believe my 'Heavenly Father' wants to have that intimate relationship--with me.  He wants me to be able to come to Him anytime, anyway.  There is freedom in our relationship, He, desires all the interaction I desire and even more.  This pleases Him, seeing my longing to know Him, desiring a more intimate and dependent relationship.  All I have to do is tell Him of my desire, He promises--"knock and the door will be opened, seek and you shall find"!   Yes! Yes! He shall find a way!

                        I did not understand how the Holy Spirit was answering that knock, nor did I have a clue what His job was.  Situations in my life seemed to repeat was the work of my 'Heavenly Father' trying to heal the past.  If I seemed to have the same set of uncomfortable feelings over and over, then maybe I should just STOP, and ask if there is a reason or purpose that I am not understandin g.  Is this a situation that I need to be attentively listening to the Holy Spirit?  Could I pray for a willingness to have the Lord expose my heart, possibly a harden area that I had yet to see before.  As the Lord changes me, we will have even more intimacy in our relationship.  He knows the lies that I believed in the past would have to be replaced with the truth.  The truth would replace the lies that Satan planted.  Truth set me free to listen and believe what the Holy Spirit was leading me to do.  I could not understand how much I was burdening myself by not believing God's promises.  Yet I could not force myself too believe.  This was the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Word of God would enable me to believe my New Father, and receive the forgiveness of the cross.  This is not easy.  Many times I was completely unaware of my beliefs.  Most of my beliefs were actually unbelief.  These areas were not possible for me to catch alone, I needed the Holy Spirit and wise counsel to question me and help me see what I secretly believed.  People could see my inconsistency with my words and actions, so I would no longer needed to lean on my own understanding.

                        When I allow my "Heavenly Father" to show me the way that is the best for me, that's when I can once again become "like a little child'.  He can be much more powerful, stronger, and smarter than I can ever be.  In the past I thought this was a negative posture.  Today I know how much lighter His burden is, than when I try to do live independently.   It's when I try to "do it" by myself is when life is the hardest.  I get to choose 'Thy Will' and learn obedience.  Life takes on a whole new meaning, pace and excitement.  This is where hope can enter.  Only through Christ is there real hope.  Hope is in Him, not in circumstances or people.  It's hard to know what my hope is in at times.  Usually I find out after I am really let down. 

                        When I am willing to admit and be honest about my feelings, I am learning to be humble.  I can rationalize and intellectualize my feelings in seconds.  I learned avoidance as a tool to protect myself; this taught me to avoid honesty and trust.  I learned to shut-off feelings to avoid pain.  That shut-off was the tool that took me out of reality.  Shutting-off access to my 'little child'.  Shutting-out the Holy Spirit from healing.  Shutting out my willingness to depend on my 'Heavenly Father', I didn't even know I needed Him.

                        Attempting to be honest is hard.  The process of trying to recapture the 'simple truth' of my feelings is not an easy one.  I have stuffed and avoided so many feelings; it is instinctive for me to put up a wall.  That way I won't feel certain feelings automatically.  Now I have to relearn to feel again, to avoid hurting myself by denying my own internal "little child".  When I am in touch with the feelings that my "little child" is feeling, that is when I am the most honest with my 'Heavenly Father'.  I feel clean inside.  I know He understands me.  I also know that He loves it when I am not hiding my true self.  I have no reason to hide from Him.  That enables an intimate relationship that only honesty can bring.

            This also allows me to determine how I reasoned like a child.  Now I can discover where Satan’s lie became my belief.  One way I can get rid of the lie is by allowing Jesus to clean my heart.  At times it takes child-like reasoning to uncover the way I believed as a child.  Some lies are stuck in my mind but once God reveals the truth, the absurdity becomes clear.  Then God's Word of putting childish ways behind me can be truly actualized.  The results are life changing.  Now the lie has no power in the present.  Know the truth and the truth shall set you free!  Now I am free to believe The Word, and the world can see the power of Jesus Christ.  No longer will I fear what people will think of me, now I will be free to believe my God.

            Avoidance of my true feelings has interfered with my relationship with my 'Heavenly Father'.  It has led me directly into sin, by my choosing to act the same way as I did in the past, and expecting a different result.  Blaming and hurt feelings where my first choices of avoidance.  They helped me to avoid feelings that I am responsible for.  When I use tools such as trying to be good, or obsessing on someone else, I then avoid my real feelings, to avoid dealing, with the real problem.  When I blame someone or deny the truth, this buries the problem.   Once the feeling gets buried it is harder to uncover the original source.  As a child this is where Satan’s lie can get established as truth.  As we grow we no longer can remember what happened, we believe the lie, and cannot replace the truth in our own heart.  The job belongs to the Holy Spirit.  If I allow God the freedom to expose the hidden lie, and I don't deny what I think is the truth, healing comes quickly.  The truth of the Word replaces the lie.

            A three or four year old does not know how to rationalize or justify someone else’s’ behavior.  If someone hurts them they cry and run to Mom or Daddy.  I think that is what Jesus is saying when he says," I tell you the truth, come now to me and tell me the truth too."  So what if the truth is not pretty, He already knows anyway.  God gave us the feelings at birth so we could understand the passion and depth of His love. 

            How much faster would I be conformed, if I were honest right in the beginning?  I would no longer have to act out with my feelings of anger, rejection, or fear.  Instead I could reach out to my 'Heavenly Father', immediately, honestly, and wait on His direction.  I know this would help me from hurting others and myself.  It would also save me from obsessing on making a decision.  I would no longer have to lean on my 'own understanding'.  I could lean on the only One who is dependable.

            If someone said a hateful word to me, wouldn't it be healthier to access my "little child" and to feel whatever it is?  Running immediately to my 'Heavenly Father', without hesitation, or hiding my true feelings.  I wouldn't waste all that time and effort avoiding my honest response.  Whenever I try to hide a feeling it ends up hurting me. When I'm hiding that feeling, I am really lying to myself and denying my "little child's" feeling.

Matthew 18:6

            But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.


            If I am lying to myself and trying to deny how I feel, then I'm lying to God.  That is sin.  Jesus throughout the New Testament, is my perfect role model.  Yet Jesus had "FEELINGS".  He got tired on the boat, he got angry in the temple, he wept for Lazarus, got lonely in the garden, and cried out on the cross in fear and doubt. JESUS NEVER DENIED HIS TRUE FEELINGS.  His feelings were not eliminated from the Word; they were not rationalized or intellectualized.  They were the way Jesus felt.  Jesus was without sin.  If God did not want feelings in the Bible because they did not look good, then God would have never allowed them to be put in there. 

            Jesus is perfect, and as I learn more about Jesus, my strongest desire is to be more like Him.   I pray that someday I will not be afraid of my own feelings or allow them to control me.  Accepting them as the gift they were meant to be.  Hopefully I will learn to appreciate my ' true and honest feelings, and will learn to value them as God intended.  They would not control my actions, or injure other people I'm in relationship with.

            Today it is permissible for me to be honest with my 'Heavenly Father', to run to Him in the middle of a temper tantrum.  This rebellion can expose my unbelief.  This is my false-belief showing.  As I do this, I will learn from each experience soon they need to over react will happen less and less.  I will no longer have to take out my anger or hurt on someone else.  I will not have to blame someone else for how I feel.  Jesus didn't blame his feelings on others.  He did not pretend He didn't have any.  He called out to His Father, expressing all of Himself.  Including crying out on the cross,

Mat 27:46 

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"--which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

There was nothing hidden, He was not ashamed.  Nor was Jesus condemned for his truthful response.  There was no sin in him.  Jesus is perfect! Jesus' love for us is perfect, His Father's love is perfect.  The "Lamb of God" was a  perfect son, just as "My Heavenly Father" is a perfect Father.  He is also my "Perfect Dad".  He can show me what true love is.  He will teach me how to act in a healthy ways.  He knows how to handle all of my emotions and feelings.  I no longer have to be afraid of being a 'bad' person because I  have certain feelings.  With Him, He's just waiting for me to ask then He will teach me the way He wants me to go.

                         My goal to be honest like a 'little child' is completely different than the goal I set before I became a Christian.  How much closer could I be to Jesus, when I am not afraid to let Him into see my inner, honest self?  When I sin and I confess He is the one who has paid for my forgiveness.  I pray that as I grow I will become closer and more intimate with him.  This will help me become the 'little child' that loves my 'Heavenly Father' and is able to feel how incredibly deep "His' love is, for me.  That's when I can truly experience the profound and passionate love My Father has for me, I will be 'experiencing' what it is like to be 'His little child'.

John 8:31 and 8:32

If you hold to my teaching you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

© Vickie Conde 2013