There is something about three year olds that I just can’t help but be captivated by. What fascinates me is that they seem to instinctively know that this is their year to throw tantrums and whine about everything, make messes out of clean and empty rooms, and reach levels of ornery you never thought was possible. When Michael hit three, I quickly figured out how three-year-old tyrants were not a myth and that most of my parenting peers were right on the money!
This weekend, my little tornado fell and scraped his knee while at the park. When he got up from the fall, his knees were covered in blood and the poor boy was in pain. He didn’t want up, he didn’t want to walk, and he just wanted the owie to go away. My heart quenched at the sound of his little voice not knowing what to do or how to cope, but in that moment he had to respond in the way that he knew how.
As I stood there waiting for him to find some sort of relief enough to keep walking to the car or allow me to pick him up to carry him, I noticed that I received those looks that you get from people when you are out in public. You know, the ones who never fail at making you feel embarrassed. I of course had those parental defensive remarks going through my head as we all do, but I got my baby and made sure he got back to the car.
As I kept walking alongside of him, I couldn’t help but think of God’s relationship with us as children. It had been my belief that what occurred today couldn’t have been a better visual representation of God’s relationship with us. If you think about it, we are really no different than toddlers and the way that others view us is the same as those people in public who trigger guilt and humiliation inside of you.
As Christians, we work so hard to live our lives Christ-like. Although it is impossible, it is still the very goal we all work hard to achieve. Although this is a very respectable ambition, it is also impossible – because we are made of flesh and have a sinful nature.
We very much have the tendencies to act like a three-year-old. We may not see it because it is not on the grander scale of how those toddlers do it, but there is still resemblance. We may not pound our hands and feet on the ground screaming, but when we have tantrums it is usually more discrete than that. It is very common for people to whine, complain, criticize, and act out in life because they are offended over what someone said or did to them.
Those tantrums often times lead us into an attitude where we are not thankful of what we have and the blessings that God has given us. It is very interesting to see how significant God could be to a person, but the minute they have something to complain about- they quickly lose focus in Him. Like three-year-old children, when we tantrum, sometimes we can’t hear what others are saying to us. We have a hard time hearing “no by our adult peers” or “calm downs” by those who love us. Instead we focus on letting out our emotions and responding in immature ways.
When we make messes as three-year-olds do, we may not go to cupboards in the kitchen and pull everything out. We may not take egg cartons and smash them all out on the floor, but as adults we do make messes in our own ways. We do this by going to areas of life that don’t concern us such as other people’s problems and homes and in result we can inject ourselves in ways that are highly inappropriate and unnecessary.
We also make messes by putting others down and making it a point for them to know when they are doing wrong. We have a horrible habit of focusing on what people do instead of just focusing on who they are as a person. Most Christians know that it is not okay to judge and will often times deny that they are putting judgment on others, but it doesn’t make it any less of what it is.
Conviction is also something that we as people take upon ourselves to deliver to others. Sometimes it is inappropriately. Don’t get me wrong, people being held accountability in life is an extremely healthy thing. However, where the unhealthiness comes into play is that people who are influencing conviction don’t always know where to stop.
We tend to use love as an excuse for putting conviction on others, but the truth is, most people get angry, disappointed, or upset at their loved ones because they are taking part in activities or are making choices that aren’t what we ourselves consider good and righteous. It’s almost as if when we seek out to convict others inappropriately, it is because we ourselves are offended.
We will cut people out of our friendship circles and will alienate loved ones out of family gatherings- all because we have focused on what a person does rather on who they are. We take it upon ourselves to deem them unworthy of love, which is not our place.
We as people can be stubborn and ornery. We can do things in our lives by looking straight at the Cross and doing it anyways. There are many times where we take advantage of the Cross by moving forward with acting upon a sin knowing God is watching our every moves, and we do it with the “security blanket” that God still loves us. Just as our three-year-olds do it to us, we do it to Our Father.
Although we have the resemblance of a three-year-old at times from a heaven’s eye view, it is important to remember that yes, God does love us through it all. Just as we love our toddlers of terrors, He loves us. Some may look at this article with a critical perception. However, we shall remember that to God- all sin is equal in measure. Although we become annoyed and “done” with parenting time and time again each day, we still rest our heads with full hearts of love for our children, and that is what I firmly believe is how God lives His days with us too.