One of our adult children was wrestling with whether or not to attend a certain event. “I really don’t want to go,” he explained.
“Then what is the problem?” I asked. “No one is forcing you to go.”
“But I feel like I am supposed to,” he replied.
“Who said that?” I wondered out loud. “Who said you are supposed to go?”
“Well, nobody, really. But if I don’t go, I will feel guilty.”
“Why would you feel guilty?” I wanted to know.
“You see, I learned that from you. I always feel like I have to do what other people expect me to do. And if don’t, I feel guilty.”
OUCH! What could I say?
Back to our topic of child-like faith, we notice that the intellectual level of young children does not afford them the capacity to understand or care about what other people think. An infant cries in the plane, even though everyone around is disgusted by the noise. Or jumps up and down on a sofa set, even though the hosts are quite perturbed. Or sleeps during the day and stays awake all night, whether Mommy likes it or not. They do what they want to do, not what other people expect them to do.
Don’t get me wrong. There ARE times we need to do what we might not feel like doing! There are times we must do what is right, whether we like it or not.
But how often do we make decisions based on the expectations of others, a desire to impress someone, or just out of wanting to please men? Scriptures warn us that that is not a good idea!
Children, I would want to believe, follow a divine inner voice, that guides them toward balanced and optimal development. Assuming that my life is truly yielded to God– do I follow that inner voice of God’s Spirit? Or do I follow that which will earn me the praise of man, the approval of friends, the social status that seems so appealing?
“Unless you become like a child” holds yet another lesson for me.