Maybe the faith of a child is one that questions everything.
S2:E35 EPISODE SUMMARY
“Let the children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
These words of Jesus, so often repeated by well-meaning adults, are not always the most comforting words to children. When children sense the implication that they are supposed to have the most trusting, unquestioning of faiths, some children (including at least one of the podcast hosts as a child) might feel left behind. Children, like adults, can have plenty of doubts, and plenty of questions.
Maybe that’s the point.
Maybe the faith of a child is one that questions everything. Children are naturally curious, and often don’t feel as if they know all the answers. Maybe the faith of a child is the kind of faith that doesn’t presume to know but is open to idea, wonder, and discovery.
There’s also a fascination and a joy in the children who come to Jesus. Loud noise, running, laughter, fun… Jesus welcomes all of this. When children know they are loved, they are free to be their fullest selves: noise, questions, and all. Children found love in Jesus.
What if this is the kind of environment the church should provide for children and adults? What if we should come baring, not masking, our full selves?
If we approach the rest of this passage with the questioning faith of a child, well… then we’ll have a lot of questions. Jesus’s words on divorce are hard and severe. What do we make of this seemingly absolute prohibition on ending a marriage?
First, we should understand these words in the context of the loving, harmonious relationships Jesus wants us to have. Jesus is absolutely clear that we should do nothing to harm one another, going so far as to say that we should cut off our own hands, feet, and eyes before we use them to hurt someone else. Therefore, Jesus is absolutely against abusive marriages and abusive relationships of any kind.
Second, unquestioning acceptance, and imposing an unquestioning acceptance, of an interpretation of Jesus’ words is not child-like faith. We are meant to question. If a literalist view of this passage keeps someone in an unloving or destructive marriage, then we should seek different understandings.
Ultimately, Jesus is saying that our responsibility to each other doesn’t end with a piece of paper. Divorce doesn’t dissolve our call to care for each other. But if the call to care for someone means allowing for divorce due to the particular circumstances, we shouldn’t be judgmental of that, either. When it comes to our relationships and the relationships of others, we are always called to responsibility and compassion.
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Adam and Lindsey and friends ask tough questions about Jesus’ sayings on divorce and relationships in general with the boldness and lack of restraint of children who know they are loved. Come wonder and explore with us at every Wednesday, live, at 11 am CT/ 9 am PT on the Raven Foundation Facebook page.