Bring light

toddlerfeetThere’s nothing quite like spending a couple of years on the heels of a toddler to peel back the facade of society when it comes to kindness. Toddlers are the ultimate rule-breakers – it’s just how they seem to have been created to learn about the world. As a parent, it’s a wild ride as we tag along, ready to scoop them up in cases of real danger, but letting them learn for the most part that which they need to learn from experience.

As a third time parent, I am concluding that the world is not an entirely friendly place to young children or their parents. There are so many things to break (I’ve had one toddler of my mine remove all the keys from my laptop and another pull over and therefore destroy our flat screen TV), and so much peace to interrupt (a man trying to read his Kindle in the children’s section of the Library yesterday got up visibly upset that my 2-yr old, despite my gentle encouragement, wasn’t quite able to obey the “quiet” rule and was chattering happily as she looked at a book). Going to museums, arboretums, restaurants, movies (and with older children, one cannot just avoid those places entirely)…all are nerve-wracking with a 2-year old who does not understand that a roped off area is not a place to play or that running away from Mom in a crowd or a new place is not the greatest game ever invented.

I’m not surprised to see the look of tension and anxiety on the faces of most parents of toddlers I encounter in similar situations. I sincerely hope that when I am well past this stage myself, I remember what it’s like to be in their shoes, and I remember to be kind. Because it is the kindness of individuals in these situations that has made all the difference as I have walked this toddler path for the third time now.

Toddlers aside, it seems that kindness is becoming a lost commodity in our society. Nowhere is this more evident than on social media where egos clash and people are more concerned with being right than being kind. On the topic of religion and its application particularly, I am sure I am not alone in having seen a tremendous amount of ugliness on all sides.

In his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of Angry God,” 18th Century preacher Jonathan Edwards said, “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath toward you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast in the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.”

With this idea of God still alive and well, is it any surprise that people have treated each other the way they have, and continue to do so? Too often Christians relegate those with whom they disagree to the ranks of Edwards’ “loathsome insects” about to be devoured by fire.

The great news, however, is that you are not a loathsome insect in the eyes of God, and neither is your neighbour, whatever his beliefs may be, or his life may look like.

No one has the kind of patience and understanding for my toddler as I do, as her mother who knows and loves her, and no one has that for us in the way that God does. But be assured that he does have that for you, and for your neighbour. He knows and he understands each of us because he has never left us and never will. All he really asks as we begin to grasp his unconditional, unfailing love for us is that we begin to reflect some of it into the lives of our neighbours. We really do have the power to bring light or darkness into each other’s lives. Bring light!

~ by Jeannine Buntrock

1 comment so far

  1. John on

    Thanks Jeannine
    I enjoyed your personalized reality of Life!

    It is not right or wrong that gives us peace! God knows about this knowledge, but this is not who He is.

    It is painful learning to come to live in His life of love for all. However it is in this perceived weakness of mercy and forgiveness that His strength of peace be with you illuminates and becomes real.

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