I will never forget it. It is one of those treasured moments I have as a pastor. It isn’t every day that you get an honest response from someone in the pews. Now, I get lots of feedback. I’m not talking about that. I am talking about honesty – pure honesty. So you know it had to come from a child. Adults pretend too much. But children have no illusions of such. They just say how they feel. This particular Sunday, precious Sofie did just that.
I was preaching on the Sermon on the Mount. This was a series of messages to cover the difficult teachings of Jesus. They can be found in Matthew 5-7. They are challenging and a bit overwhelming sometimes. But Jesus meant these words, so I try to struggle through them with the congregation. It helps us to grow. This particular Sunday, I was on the part where Jesus tells his disciples about loving your enemies and turning the other cheek. As I understand it, Sofie was coloring. She never missed a beat – As I was teaching about this scripture, she stopped just long enough to say “nope” and went back to coloring. No fanfare. No other comments needed. Just nope. I still laugh today as if just happened.
The best part is Sofie was telling the truth about how most of us feel. She had nothing to hide. She wasn’t going to love her enemies nor turn the other cheek – not happening – just nope. She didn’t need to discuss it or consider it – just nope. As adults, we might would want to reason or consider how we can do it. But underlying it all, most of us are also thinking – nope. If we are honest, we have trouble loving the people we don’t consider enemies. We don’t really even love the people who call themselves Christians. We haven’t made it anywhere near loving our enemies yet. Some of us don’t even love ourselves. Sophie’s answer is exactly how most of us feel – it’s just nope.
We hide that part of ourselves because we know the right answers. The problem is we never really make any progress. When we fake our way through it, we never make genuine change. We must start with the truth of where we are before we can begin to move forward. If the answer is nope – then start there. Don’t try to pretend we are great at loving others when we aren’t. That’s just lying.
I am grateful Sofie spoke the truth. She helps me to realize beginning with the truth helps us to improve to become more like Christ. Maybe, just maybe, that nope becomes yep. But it doesn’t until we first acknowledge it is just a nope. Thanks Sofie!
2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3 and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Photos included in Devotions are captured by David Cain – The Cain Gallery. Photos are available for sale by contacting The Cain Gallery