I am a father of two boys. There is immense responsibility felt having to take care of my children. Thankfully, my wife is a stalwart and holds down the fort. The title of this write-up today is “the soul is healed by being with children.” This quote comes from 19th century Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s book, “The Idiot.” One of the lines that come from this chapter offers a little more what is meant by this line…
” One can tell a child everything, anything. I have often been struck by the fact that parents know their children so little. They should not conceal so much from them. How well even little children understand that their parents conceal things from them, because they consider them too young to understand! Children are capable of giving advice in the most important matters...”
Being able to tell a child everything and anything is part and parcel of why our souls can be touched in profounder ways than any thirty second commercial or one hundred and sixty character tweet can suffice. Children penetrate adults in profound ways. Too often as parents, we can be on our children to grow out of their childishness without first remembering this is their childhood. We are too busy trying to change our children without having known and experienced them firsthand. Is this line not true that says children are capable of giving advice in most important matters? Spend time with children and watch how the soul is affected by them.
It is true that children need to be taught and corrected and such. But as anxious adults we have become too complicated to be of lasting goodness to children that the whole operation needs to be subverted. You may notice that Fuller Life Church’s pictures have many a child in them. These are moments where they accompany us on this journey to fellowship and participate in God’s presence together.
Children being part of public worship is important. We needn’t isolate them from the family in worship singing. They are part of the family of God. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14). We need a forbearing spirit to allow children room to learn the ways and habits of praising God. Their “noise” may be pleasing in the Master’s ears.
The soul is healed by being with children came from a man who suffered much and had four children. We can trust the truth of this line because Dostoevsky found the healing influence of children. Listen to a further portion that speaks of this reality from Dostoevsky,
“Children soothe and heal the wounded heart. I remember there was one poor fellow at our professor’s who was being treated for madness, and you have no idea what those children did for him, eventually. I don’t think he was mad, but only terribly unhappy. “
Have you found this to be the case? Perhaps our malaise of unhappiness can find the healing balm from those who are playful in presence, unpretentious about life, open and simple…all the very things our Lord said we must become like to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3). Spend some time with those who are small and youthful and watch the ways your heart softens. May the Lord grant us all a softer heart, just like the kids we are in God’s presence. Amen.