Childhood Innocence

Someone wrote a letter to the editor about the innocence of a child.  In her view, every child is born perfect and innocent.  My first thought was she must not be a mother.  Before you misunderstand me, I love babies.  I’ve had three of my own.  I adore my five grandchildren.  But innocent? 

There is nothing more self-centered than a baby.  Babies coo and gurgle and chuckle when they have what they need and want. They cry if they don’t.  Cries quickly turn to enraged screams if Mom/Dad/Caregiver doesn’t move fast enough.  And it’s not an appealing please-I-am-hungry cry, but an enraged, red-faced give-me-what-I-want-now scream! (Reminds me of a commercial I’ve seen on television:  “I want what I want and I want it NOW!!”)  Cries aren’t limited to hunger.  The cause might be a dirty diaper, or a hot summer day, a twisted blanket, or gas bubble, or just plain boredom, and a baby screams. “Do something about this right now!”  Sometimes a baby cries simply because he (or she) don’t know what he (or she) wants and is venting frustration. Babies have bad days, too.

Most adults know how to cover-up their self-centeredness in more “appropriate” ways.   Manipulation.  Justification.  Rationalization. Others resort to temper tantrums, fists, gossip, criminal behavior and all manner of evil. 

We were all babies once.  We’d like to think we were innocent at one time in our lives.  The thing is babies are flesh and blood and born with a sin nature.  Remember Adam and Eve?  Satan slithered up to Eve and said she could be as smart and in control as God if she ate that forbidden fruit God said not to eat.  Satan planted doubt in Eve’s head that God didn’t have her best in mind, and Eve didn’t bother to ask God or her husband (who was standing right next to her!) if what Satan said was true.  Why?  Because she wanted what Satan said the fruit offered. So she ate it.  Then she handed some over to Adam who knew better, but ate it anyway because he was more interested in pleasing her than God.  God knew the choice they made and confronted them.  Instead of confessing, they cast blame.  Eve pointed at Satan.  Adam pointed at Eve and then he pointed at God. “You gave her to me.” 

And you know what?  We’re exactly like them because we inherited their nature to want SELF-control.  We all start out believing “It’s all about me.”

That’s why we needed a Savior.  We needed Someone powerful enough to overcome the sin nature we all inherited from Adam and Eve.  Hence, God impregnated a woman by the Holy Spirit and brought forth God the Son-Jesus incarnate in a man.  As both fully God and fully man(kind), Jesus was The Only One able to overcome the sin nature in all of us and live a sinless life so that we can be saved through Him by making a choice to believe Him – and live the eternal life promised in the Garden in the beginning.  Right from day one, God had our best in mind.  He still does.  When we believe in Jesus’ work (life, death, resurrection), we receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which begins the transformation process (into Christ’s likeness).  We are immediately a child of God, but have a lot of growing up to do. 

Our mind is the battlefield, and the Holy Spirit gives us the discernment, ability and power to fight the self-centered nature we inherited from the fall.  God enables us to become what He intended us to be. 

I love babies, but I don’t want to behave like one.