Monday, April 19, 2010

"Well, well, well... how the turntables."

Kids are great. Have you ever told a story to a kid and noticed how they listen? They are so attentive, so involved. You can tell by the unconscious, wide-eyed look on their faces that their imagination is working overtime. It seems that some kids can even remove themselves from reality and get completely consumed in the story you‘re telling them. They have an uncanny ability to make even the most farfetched stories seem real and believable.

I think its funny how we use this against them. How many of us were told, “If you keep making that face its going to get stuck like that”? Then we have the classic stories that we use to deceive those poor, innocent children. For example, the idea of Santa Claus. The story is absolutely ridiculous, highly implausible, and blatantly creepy but kids spend the first 6 or 7 years of their life writing him letters and leaving him cookies--one of which he takes a big bite out of and puts back on the plate for whatever reason. Also, there’s the Easter Bunny; he brings you gifts, like Santa, but his gifts all fit in eggs and then you have to find them yourself. What a jerk. And then there’s the Tooth Fairy… really?

Kids can potentially believe anything you can think to tell them. This could be due to the fact that they have a lack of wisdom and an abundance of trust; the recipe for gullible. However, as we grow and learn more, and as we find out through experience that people cannot always be trusted, we begin to believe less and less. We begin questioning and fact checking. We no longer let our imaginations run wild and believe everything we hear, instead we are skeptical.

We realize as we get older that everything we’re told is not always true, and we don’t want to believe in something that is not true. We don’t want to run around making claims that are false because that would just make us look like idiots, and nobody--except for apparently Lady Gaga--wants to look like an idiot. Basically, we’ve grown up. The gullible, na├»ve side of us is no longer here. Things have changed since we were 6 and we’ve realized that many things we were told as a kid just aren’t true.

One day I was thinking about this and a gang of ideas bombarded my brain like an overzealous SWAT team. I was thinking about all the years I spent as a child sitting in Sunday school. I pictured 6 year old Jeremy, innocent and cute as he was, being told that Jesus was the savior and that He was the only way. I pictured myself sitting there, watching in amazement as my teacher placed those magnificent paper characters on that mysterious fuzzy board, as my teacher told me that Jesus was a real man and that He died but rose from the dead. That’s when it hit me: as a child, I was indoctrinated.

I know that’s uncomfortable to think about, but that’s exactly what it is. Do I only believe in God because I was told he was real when I was a child? Do believe in Jesus for the same reasons I believed in Santa? It’s a frightening thought, but honestly, one that I have had frequently.

Like everyone else, I’ve had my doubts. When I became more independent, in life and thought, I began to question a lot and I still do. What if Jesus is just like Santa and the Easter Bunny, the only difference being that no one has admitted the truth to me? Even worse, what if no one knows the truth? What if we are all deceived by fairy tales that have been passed down for hundreds of years? We’ve been told what to believe since we were children, no wonder we believe it. Right?

To me, this was a kind of scary and unpleasant thought, but then I realized something: God asked us to believe (John 3:16). We are saved by grace, but through faith! We don’t have to have it all figured out and we don’t have to prove God to ourselves, we just have to believe. There may always be doubt or uncertainty, but if there wasn’t, then we wouldn’t need faith and how could we not need what God requires of us to be saved? Simply put: we must choose to believe.

In Mark 10:15 Jesus says, “Anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will not enter it.” I feel like He wants me to put aside all the knowledge and wisdom I think that I have, and just abundantly trust in Him. His desire is to be as real to me as possible. God wants me to believe in Him like I believed in Santa when I was 6. I use to write Santa letters; God wants to be so real to me that I expect Him to acknowledge what I say. I would give Santa my cookies; God wants to be so real to me that I know its worth making sacrifices. I would change my behavior because I heard Santa knew when I had been bad; God wants to be so real to me that I fear Him. Kind of cheesy? Sure… but you’ll get over it. Truthfully, He wants to be so real to me that I don’t just say I believe, but that I live and act like I believe.

My nephews still leave cookies out for Santa ever year… I eat them. So, I suppose if Santa does exist he doesn’t like me very much. I don’t drink milk, so I usually dump that in the sink, and that’s just added insult. But you know, I wanted a Super Nintendo and he didn’t give it to me. So, now that he wants cookies, I’ll see to it that they are all eaten when he arrives--all except the one that I’ll continue to bite once and put back on the plate. You reap what you sow, Mr. Kringle. You reap what you sow.

2 comments:

  1. Dang. I was completely moved by that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You need to write a book, like a daily devotional type thing- only cooler :) I know I'd buy it...

    ReplyDelete