Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Like a Child

Matthew 18:21-35

The King of the universe has forgiven me of an enormous debt. A debt beyond calculation. Who am I to demand payment from a fellow sinner who has also been forgiven his debt by the same King? It is ridiculous to think that they would owe me anything. Realizing this, and living in this truth offers such freedom, inner contentment and immovability. My peace cannot be taken from me by anything that anyone does or says, I cannot be shaken. I recognize that I am a great sinner as is everyone around me, but I am forgiven and loved by a great savior. And he loves each one of us without partiality.

Friend of Sinners

Verse 1:
You found me in an empty, howling wasteland
Unwanted, helpless and covered in disease
You wrapped your cloak around me
Bathed me in forgiveness
Adorned me with acceptance and your glory (Ezekial 16)

Sometimes like a fool,
I think I saved myself
Quick to forget you
O God, you are my help

Friend of sinners
Holy One
Repentance is your precious gift to me
Friend of sinners
Glorious One
Repentance is your gift to set me free
Friend of sinners

Verse 2:
How can I stand before you so offensive
I choose the darkness trampling on your grace
Lead me to repentance
To the cross, the face of Jesus
It was my sin that held my savior there

Pre-chorus 2:
Sometimes like a fool
I think I give so much
that I don't need you
But I'm not good enough

Jesus Friend of sinners
Jesus Friend to me
Father true forgiver
Spirit guiding me

Matthew 18:1-10

"Turn from your sins and become like little children" (18:3 NLT)

"Little children", what does it mean for me to become like a little child? What do I see in my children? A.) They know they are not in charge. B.) They are continually aware of their sinfulness. C.) They have to constantly be apologizing to each other D.) They are always needing help and they don't mind asking me for it. E.) They know that they have a lot to learn and they apply themselves to learning new things all the time. F.) They depend on me for their daily needs and for protection. G.) They know that they need to obey without arguing, complaining or delaying and that they need to trust me. H.) They are joyful and easily delighted. I see that my children are by nature humble yet secure and confident in who they are and in my love for them. They can make mistakes and still know they are accepted. They can repent and not wallow in self-pity or guilt. They embrace forgiveness and offer it so freely to others. Lord, make me like a little child.

"Anyone who welcomes a little child on my behalf is welcoming me." (18:15)

Do I regularly welcome my children? Or do I sigh with frustration and fatigue when they ask me the hundredth childish question or tell me the same silly joke? Do I light up with smiles and warmth when they come into my presence, or does my selfishness pucker up my face into a frown? Do I regularly thank God for and appreciate who He made them to be: quirks, faults, strengths and all? Lord make me more like you as a parent.

"Beware that you don't look down on any one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my father." (18:10)

Forgive me God for having any kind of critical, complaining spirit towards my children or towards any other believer for that matter. To criticize them is to distrust and criticize you, their maker and redeemer and friend.

"So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last. You know that the rulers in this world (mothers and fathers) lord it over their people (children), and officials (parents) flaunt their authority (an attitude of "I'm better than you") over those under them (their children). But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader (a God-honoring parent) among you must be your (the children's) servant and whoever wants to be first among you(honored and respected as a mother or father) must become your slave (recognize that we are not superior to our children). For even the son of Man came not to be served but to serve others (and He is superior, He's God and has every right to "lord it over us" but he never did) and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:16, 25-28)

May I remember that I am just as annoying as my children can be. I can be more stubborn, more petty, more forgetful, more defensive and argumentative than they are. I am not above my children in worth or value to God's kingdom. I just have a role of leadership that I don't deserve. May I faithfully serve my children by training them and inspiring them through my faithful, humble leadership. And may God receive all the glory for who they are and who they become.