Scolding

“. . . disciples scolded the people.”

Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.” (Mark 10:13-16)
 
Last week after Easter services Patti and I traveled to Virginia to visit our granddaughter and our children.  (That’s also why there was no Wednesday Wonderings last week.)  As we passed through a few towns along the way we saw displays of pinwheels on the lawns of public spaces.  We never could get close enough to the accompanying signs to determine the purpose of the pinwheels.  Very early this morning I had to go to Women and Children’s Hospital.  Approaching the hospital entrance I saw this very pretty display of pinwheels.  As I got closer and was able to read the sign, “pretty” turned to “ugly.”


The numbers are staggering – 700 children treated for abuse by one hospital in one community in one year.  However, if truth be told, the actual number is probably much higher because the 700 only represents the children that were identified.  I’m certain there are many more children whose abuse remains secret.  As a matter of fact, I’m certain because I’ve listened as many adults have shared with me how they were secretly abused as children.

I have to believe that as humans we are wired to care for children, not abuse them, so what changes?  What turns off our God-given desire to cherish and nurture and replaces it with destructive abuse?  I realize that some adults who abuse children do it because they suffer from severe forms of mental illness.  However, I suspect that most adults who abuse children we would call, “normal, good people,” who let something else take over.  The disciples following Jesus were obviously good men with good intentions.  However, the scripture tells us that they, “scolded the people,” for bringing children to see Jesus.  The scolding must have been hurtful to the adults and children because Jesus responded with anger and reversed the directions of the disciples, instructing them to bring the children to him.

What gets in the way?  For the disciples we can hypothesize that their interpretation of Jesus’ agenda got in the way.  The disciples might have assumed that Jesus had serious business to discuss with adults and had no time for the frivolities of children.  Maybe the disciples were concerned that Jesus was tiring and needed rest?  Who knows?  All we know is that something got in the way and the disciples acted in a hurtful way toward the children brought to Jesus.

Today there are probably many things that get in the way and turn potentially caring and nurturing adults into abusers of children.  The easiest things to name are drugs and alcohol, but other things also come to mind like fear, greed, fatigue, stress, anger, depression, anxiety, self-absorption, or helplessness.  It’s so easy for one or a combination of these things to take over and turn the caring adult into an abusing adult.  It means that if we are to be the most nurturing and least abusive we have to be on our toes and make healthy decisions about our own selves.  We have to be self-aware enough to know that when we’re feeling something that might trigger hurtful actions toward children we need to be extra careful in our interactions.  We have to be willing to repent of hurtful habits that make us abusive and ask for healing.  If necessary we need to make lifestyle changes that will keep us healthier and less likely to be abusive.

Our lives as adults can become more and more complicated and destructive to our selves and others by the unhealthy decisions we make.  Maybe when Jesus said we need to, “receive the Kingdom of God like a child,” he meant we need to be self-aware enough to realize the complicating, sometimes destructive decisions we make in our lives, confront those decisions, and make necessary changes to keep us ready and on-the-ball to reach out in love instead of abuse.  I’ve never thought about that verse quite that way before . . . but then again, that’s why I call this Wednesday Wonderings.  I pray that God will keep me on-the-ball so my life is spent nurturing instead of abusing.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Gary
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

 
Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.



My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.

 

 

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1hSpxC_G24
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~ by revgenelson on April 30, 2014.

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