“When I was a child, I spoke as a child; I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
From Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians chapter 13 in which he spoke for the first ten verses of the attributes of love. As though beginning a new thought, he wrote the above quote. The quote woke me up in the middle of the night and would not be laid down. So I thought I’d better look into this so that I can get back to sleep. I read the whole chapter again.
The first ten verses spoke of childlike attributes that is worth striving to become. Children are trusting and give their love and affection without asking that the recipient of their love be worthy of it. Children are honest and trustworthy themselves. Children are naturally joyous and happy. They may pout for a moment when their wants are unmet; but given a moment, more often than not, they return to their joyful selves.
Childishness, on the other hand, is often petulant and vengeful. It can be seen in the need for punishment and revenge. Childish behavior can be seen as most of the actions we do not like in adults. We all can, at one time of another, behave childishly. The small thoughts we have about other people’s behavior, looks, possessions, speech, dress, foods or language; we are being asked in the quote to leave behind. Pettiness and cruelty, vengefulness and spitefulness are some of childish habits we are teaching the next generation. These are holding us back from becoming fully human.
To become fully human we are being asked to be more like the childlike. We are being asked to become childlike in order to be adults. When we become from the inside out more like children we become fully functioning human beings. Ah, the irony of it all.
Today, and every day for the rest of my life I will be childlike.