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 Cor. 13:11 NIV)
I remember sitting on the second pew of the little back-roads church with my grandmother and looking up at the pastor with wide eyes and open ears. He was going to tell me how to get to Heaven! Instead, what I remember hearing was that I’m a sinner and not worthy of entering those pearl-laden gates. I suppose that may be why I fell away from what I’d learned in Sunday school for a while: I heard the pastor say I wasn’t worthy so why bother trying.
Now, don’t get me wrong. He never meant to be misinterpreted by a naïve little boy. His sermon was intended to deliver the message of Jesus’ sacrifice. He meant, only, to warn his congregation against a life of sin, but my little mind couldn’t grasp that concept. Eventually, I fell into the very life that he’d warned against because I didn’t understand his message. I was thinking and reasoning like a child.
I’m older now and my thinking and reasoning skills have developed so that I understand the message of Jesus’ sacrifice. I understand the concepts of forgiveness, mercy, love and grace even if I will never grasp the depth of God’s love for me. I no longer turn away from the promises found in God’s word but, instead, run toward them. I’ve “put the ways of childhood behind me” and seek God’s approval like someone in the desert seeks water. Because I’m older in my Christian walk, I realize that I’ve sinned and fallen short and I’m so very thankful for forgiveness (Romans 3:23); I know that I wouldn’t be here today if not for God’s mercy and love (Lamentations 3.22-23); and I give thanks, daily, for the gift of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
My friend, no matter where you are in life right now, believe in God’s promises and understand that you are His child. He sees your mistakes as those of a child who’s learning how to be a grown-up Christian. You may fall and skin your knees but don’t give up. Instead, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep running toward the life that your loving and merciful Heavenly Father has planned for you.