I am a father of four. The three still with us make me question if Jesus was wrong. He said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 18:3) HE MUST HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOUR YEARS OLD OR YOUNGER!
The three I live with are the most legalistic Pharisees I have ever known!! Was Jesus wrong?!
Here's the conversation, "Dad, you said I couldn't take toys to school. These aren't toys."
To which I reply, "You're using these like toys, first of all. Second, what was my point about this issue?"
To which my lovely blessing from heaven gives an eye roll, sigh, and moaning response, "You don't want them to be a distraction."
I say, "So, you do know the point of all this! Stop trying to find the loophole!"
Pharisees were the "separate ones" and in the first century, they were observant and due to the history of Israel, they were needed. They upheld the Law and protected the Scriptures. They sought purity and to help the nation come back to purity according to God and His word. But often their interpretation of the Scriptures were so legalistic as to create a burden for people trying to be faithful while creating loopholes for those who only wanted to appear faithful. Thus, Jesus often opposed them.
My children exploit any perceived loophole they can. What was Jesus talking about when He said we are to become like children?! He must have meant four year olds, because once they hit eight, the loophole-exploiting legalism starts and Jesus was adamantly opposed to this.
Thankfully, the next statement He made clarified. "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." First-century children were not the center of attention. They had no sway over the culture as they do in ours. Jesus was telling His audience to be humble and not seek influence by worldly standards. Humble, teachable people do not seek legalistic loopholes or justifications for their wrong behavior. Parenting reveals that both children and parents certainly need to humble themselves. We have to stop looking for loopholes and justifications for our wrong behavior.
Now, I must go. I am on a diet because my doctor told me to lose weight by eating more fruits and veggies. I have a big slice of apple pie waiting for me. It's got lots of fruit!