As a child, we are dependent on our parents to provide for our basic needs. Some of us were lucky to have food on the table, a roof over our head and clothes on our back, whether it was designer clothes or clothes from yard sales it did not matter. Some of us had love in our homes and was able to strive and become a mature adult. While others had to fight for survival to get through the day.
As a teenager there is a sense of being invinsible. We take on more risks without considering the consequences. Based on our nurturing experience as a child, we tend to carry it into our teenage years and adulthood. Some of us were able to break the cycle of abuse, whether physical, emotional, financial, mental or spiritual. While others continue to be trapped in a world where forgiveness and redemption is unheard of. Therefore it is difficult to understand or experience the relationship of God.
We teach children in church the ABC of salvation. A= accept; Confess to God that you are a sinner. Repent and turn away from your sin. B= Believe; that Jesus is the son of God and that he was sent by God to save people from their sins. C= Commit; Give your life to Jesus. Ask Him to be your Savior and Lord. Sounds simple? Not always, especially when the first time you have heard it was when you are an adult and have experienced the hard and/or troubled life.
In Matthew 18:1-6, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Another word, to enter the kingdom of heaven, we need to go back to the beginning and start over by accepting that we are a sinner. Then we are to repent (doing a 180) from our old sinful ways.
Like an empty room with nothing but the walls and the unfinished floors that has scars from years of hard times. These scars are forgiven but add characters which will make it beautiful in its own way. The way God forgives you when you accept Jesus into your life. Come as you are, broken and scarred, God loves you the way you are.
It is up to the matured Christian to disciple or rather guide the new Christian in the teaching of the Bible. Not to judge, bully, or take advantage of their simple trust. It's hard enough for new Christian to walk the narrow path of God so why mislead them and make it harder for them?
Some children will have a hard time trusting people of authority because the trust was violated by his/her parents or those in authority when he/she was a child of the world. If a mature christian takes advantage of their simple trust, then they are doomed to enter the kingdom of heaven because we caused the child (new christian) to stumble. Mature Christians have responsiblities to young Christians.
Another Scripture came to mind as I look at my empty rooms. Matthew 19:16-30 tells us the story of the rich young man.
Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"
"Why do you ask me bout what is good?" Jeus replied, "There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." ' Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself."
"All these I have kept," the young man said, "What do I still lack?"
Jesus answered, "if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, Then come, follow me.
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, becuase he had great wealth."
Over the past ten years, God has been refining me as to what is important, which is relationships. Before I emptied the rooms, I had Precious Moments and my best China displayed in their cabinets. I had a wood entertainment center with the best stereo system in its time and a television, a lazy boy love seat, two recliners, a nice coffee table and end tables that my dad made. All of these I had to have and could not live without; material wealth.
I remembered a time when I had to have a new car every three years, the newest technology on the market, and the best of everything. But what have I gained from all this wealth? It was not a trusted relationship with my husband, family or friends. Let alone, Jesus himself. Everytime I got something new and better, it gave me happiness. A happiness that was temporary and not long lasting and I desired a long lasting relationship.
Over the past year, I lost what I thought was important. I lost my ministerial license due to my second divorce. Recently, my son, Brad, and I discussed this. For four years, I was trying to find a loop hole to keep my license. Only to find that there was no loop hole. Just as a friend was trying to find a loop hole to continue a relationship with a divorced woman and he did not find one.
The discussing led to dependency? Are we being dependent on the church, God or self? Or are we trusting God to lead us to what is right?
All of us have made the wrong choices and because of our choices, we suffered consequences. We are taught in church that there is forgiveness and redemption from God. But what happens when there is no forgiveness and redemption from the church? Is it any wonder why new Christians does want to be a part of a church? After what my own family witnessed with me, they do not want anything to do with the institutional church.
This is going off on another topic. So let's to get back to relationships.
If a person continues to hang on to their status and material wealth, then is it impossible to have a relationship with God, let alone people? Is material wealth and status (what defines us) is more important than our relationship with God?
When we have a relationship with Jesus, we are one with the Father in making this world a better place to live. Therefore all the wealth and/or status in the world should not matter. And when we have a healthy realtionship with Jesus, then that relationship will overflow to other relationships.
Are you willing to surrender all to God? Or are you like the rich man who hang onto what he has because he has trouble letting go of his wealth? Which are you?