Mk 10:13-16 Fear and Kindness
The Lord does not in any way, shape or form indulge his children. No, not at all! He lets them fall, and fall hard sometimes. He lets them learn tough lessons, even to the point of death. He is not warm and fuzzy. Nor is he like a Grandpapa. No. God is never referred to as "grandpa" in Scripture. He is The Father, and is willing to allow his children to stumble and fall; to learn how to get back up, even at a tremendous price – the price of his only begotten Son.
In a recent article, I read how a twelve-year-old girl successfully sued her father for not allowing her to go to an end of year “graduation” field trip. The lawyer, having left behind her brain after her bar exam, said she was being denied a significant rite of passage. “This is something that would never happen again in the child’s life. It was the end of a stage in her life.” Huh? Since when has a field trip been a rite of passage? Since when is graduating from elementary school a significant event? Well, we can all see the writing on the wall, nice and clear, that indulging children does them no favors.
I know a mom who was determined to give her children everything that her father did not give to her. She succeeded. She gave her daughter anorexia, drug and alcohol addictions, and no College degree.
“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him, for he knows how we are formed; he remembers that we are dust.” (Ps 103:13-14)
What makes a child so precious in the eyes of God? In the old days it was said that “Children are to be seen and not heard.” They were considered second-class citizens. They were pooped upon by all. Now, it appears as though the citizenship has been reversed. Parents need to defend themselves from their own off-spring. The newly ordained gurus of child therapists consider ancient rites such as spanking as a no-no, even worse, as a criminal offense. And yet, who will save the children from themselves? Who will help them to mature and to grow healthy so that they can one day embrace their children and be blessed by them? Too many educators, coaches, pastors and ministers have distanced themselves from children out of fear and do not wish to get involved. They repeat too often, "It's too risky. It’s not worth it."
The Psalmist does not dare call our God “Our Father.” Instead, he makes a simple analogy to human fatherhood. It will take the Son of God to give us the courage to call God, “Our Father.” And if God is my Father, then I am his beloved child. For this reason the Lord did not rebuke the little children. Instead, he encouraged them, “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
The God of Israel created for man “counsel, and a tongue and eyes and ears, and an inventive heart, and filled them with the discipline of understanding. He created in them knowledge of the spirit; with wisdom he fills their heart; good and evil he shows them” (Sir 17:1-15).
Let us begin to fear the Lord and rise above ourselves and grow in authentic kindness. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It isn’t the end point, but it is a good start. It leads to the greatest gift of kindness ever, Christ.