When I was child, my father found a clever way to make me comb my hair. He told me that if I didn’t, it would turn green.
I believed him.
I worried about my hair, wondering if my furious combing was keeping the green strands at bay. Eventually, I questioned my belief in neglect-based hair coloration. It turns out the claim was false.
I was willing to believe in green hair because I failed to consider whether or not the claim was true. My misguided belief was caused by my father’s humorous method to handle my stubbornness, and in the end it cost me very little. A child’s willingness to believe their parents is a virtue, and the parent’s job is to keep the child safe and teach them what is true.
Children are willing to believe because they embrace the wonder of the world. The glimmer in their eye reflects a knowledge that the world they have mostly undiscovered is extraordinary.
Becoming more childlike is beneficial in many ways.
When Jesus’s disciples asked who will be the greatest in Heaven, Jesus responded: “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” (NIV, Matthew 18:3-4). We are supposed to retain the humility we had as children–when we knew enough to know we didn’t know everything.
Questioning truth claims is essential for developing a healthy worldview, but it should not begin at age two! I have seen this happen, and it makes for difficult times.
A child’s belief involves a humbling dependency, a pure heart, and a trusting way. Children believe because they love their father, and they know of their father’s love for them.
As some grow older, the glimmer fades. The universe and everything in it is given a rational, natural explanation. Nothing is amazing, and the wonder is gone. The once-bewildered child bemoans the death of his dreams and the source of his hope. He is willing to believe what he is taught because he fails to give it further thought. But it does not have to end this way.
We cannot help but to believe in something. Even those who believe there are no beliefs cannot avoid their own contradiction–belief is an inescapable part of our humanity.
Many are familiar with doubting apostle Thomas, to whom Jesus responded, “Blessed are those who have not seen yet have believed” (NIV, John 20:29).
Are you willing to believe in something you have not seen?
Jesus taught us about our father in Heaven and what it truly means to love. It is because of his word that we love our Father, and we know of the Father’s love for us. His truth has stood the test of time, and his word can never broken. The world has been restored. Man has been redeemed. Those who don’t believe do so not because they can’t, but because they won’t.
The universe can be filled with wonder once again. That is, if you are willing to believe.
Photo credit: Hubble Heritage / Foter / CC BY-SA
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