One Sunday each month, I get to help in the 4 year old class at my church. I say get to because that’s how I see it, absolutely. Those wee-watts are a total blast in more ways than I can count. For starters, they tell it like it is, and they don’t apologize for their bluntness. They will innocently overshare whatever happened that morning, and I can slap my knee and laugh at what they say only because I know my kids overshared the same once upon a time. They dish out hugs like they think they may never see you again. And if 4 year olds misbehave? Well, so what! They’re suppose to misbehave because they’re still learning, for cryin’ out loud. I mean, give me a 4 year old with bratty behavior and a 40 year old with bratty behavior (we all know folks who fall in that category, now don’t we), and I’ll take the 4 year old every time.
Having said that, I still don’t mind sending them off with their parents and leaving church with my gloriously independent teens.
This past Sunday, the kids and I sat criss-cross applesauce to hear the lesson, and I peeked around little Piper on my lap to watch several others with their chins propped up in their little hands. I learned afresh how little ones not only take in truths easily, but they are anxious to get rid of harmful things easily too. The Sunday School lesson was about how when we confess our sin to Jesus, he takes it away because of his work on the cross. When the teacher asked if any of them would like to confess their sins, several hands shot up.
“I hit my brother this morning!”
“I lied last week.”
“I didn’t talk nice to my friend.”
All that confessing was easy and natural to them. They willingly grabbed the hand of humility–even if they don’t quite know the meaning of the word. And what’s more, they let their actions finish what their hearts began and behaved humbly through confession.
A part of me always squirms during Holy Week, immensely uncomfortable with the ugly words spewed at Jesus as well as the bloody beatings and crucifixion he experienced. But I think what makes me squirm the most is my part in the horror, how my own sin is just as responsible as anyone else’s for all Jesus endured.
If I dare lift my eyes to look at the Friday cross, I am filled with shame. But thankfully, shame doesn’t get the last word. When I slow enough to feel the warmth of humility, I am also filled with a desire to repent. Lord, forgive me. And in that moment, he does without hesitation. My sins big and small are met with love and healing. Yours are too.
“As we ponder [Christ’s] love this week, let us remember how He has humbled Himself, how He has entreated us, how He has pursued us and come alongside us and opened every door for our restoration, paying the price for us in His very own body and giving Himself over to the shame of public death to see His sons and daughters live.” ~ Edie Wadsworth
Left to my own devices, I’m a dilapidated mess that deserves a bulldozer. We all are, really. But Jesus takes our holes and rotten patches and with his nail-scarred hands, he repairs. He smooths our roughness, sands down our edges. Out of the overflow of his humility, we don’t walk with our heads bent in shame but with our hearts free to savor a full life.
I want to live like one extravagantly loved because I am loved extravagantly. We need to look no further than the cross to know it. Shame is no where to be found, and redemption wins.
And may we, like a child, easily believe.
Next week is Spring Break at the Strong house, so I’ll be spending that time with my fam. (And digging out from under snow–we got several inches yesterday!) I look forward to seeing you the first week of April! May you have a joyous Easter weekend with your own beautiful people. xo