February 19. A Child or a Man

Monday, February 20, 2012

February 19. A Child or a Man

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me (1 Corinthians 13:11).

I was seventeen, it was my last semester in high school and Mom and I were having a knock-down, drag-out fight.  I told her that I was old enough to make my own decisions, reminding her that I was headed to college in just a few months and I expected to be treated as an adult.  She quickly informed me that when I behaved as an adult, she’d treat me as one.  That took the wind out of my sails pretty quickly.

(And yes … if you think that Mom and I fought a lot, you are correct. There was nothing passive about our relationship – always dynamic, always passionate.)

I’m in my 50s now, and I still don’t feel as if I am qualified to be considered an adult.  I question my own actions and behavior. I worry too much about whether people will understand my motives. I do not feel as if I have all of the tools that I need to make the decisions that I am required to make on a daily basis.  Sometimes I still say things that embarrassed me when I was young and can’t believe I couldn’t stop my mouth.

I look back at my childhood and I liked those years of not having responsibilities.  I didn’t have to worry about making tough decisions without the support of a strong family.  If I made a mistake, someone would be there to encourage me to keep going.  The foundation that my parents offered was quite strong.

But Mom died when I was 28 and all of a sudden I owned a business and had many responsibilities.  Just as my life was transitioning from that business, Dad died. The one person who I would have trusted to help me through seminary was gone.  I had to be my own adult and my errors were my own – there was no longer anyone to cushion the blow or offer me a strong foundation.

As Christians, Paul often calls on us to grow up.  We don’t feel as if we dare take responsibility for our faith, just in case we mess it up.  We like being children and having things of God fed to us.  We like our Christianity to be easy and palatable.  When we surround ourselves with strong Christians who expect nothing from us – we will remain that way as long as possible.

It is time for each of us to grow up and take responsibility for being Christ’s emissaries to the world.  To move beyond Sunday morning worship and Bible studies.  We are called to carry His love with us every day.