I have a four children, one of whom happens to be a three year old boy. He is sweet, loving, loaded with energy, and an all-around terror most of the time. Seriously, he is amazing.
Recently we were on a walk around our neighborhood. Just me and the boy, be-bopping along. I love these walks we take. He bops around throwing sticks and asking questions that don’t make since. Like this one:
“Daddy, if God is big, do buildings have legs?”
Yeah… um… that’s my boy? Anyhow, so here we are on one of our famous walks when I look down at my boy’s face and see him chewing something.
“Buddy, what are you chewing on?”
“Where did you get a straw?”
“Right there!” Jo-Bits points at the side of the road.
“Buddy, spit that out!”
“Because it’s gross, there could be germs on it.”
He spits it out with tears in his eyes, not realizing the danger of straws found on the side of the road.
You know what’s funny? He does this kind of thing all the time and gets sick less than my other kids. It’s crazy… we can take my other three to Walmart and they’ll get sick if we don’t sanitize EVERYTHING. The boy can pick up trash and gnaw on it and he will be fine.
This is the nature of things… we all get germs, some of us are over run and others just keep bopping along. We all are subject to a fallen world in which people get sick and death is eminent. We all do goofy things like my kids. Whether it is gnawing on a straw or sticking your thumb in your mouth. We all have our vices that get us into trouble. We are all feeble and weak. We all get sick, we all fail, we are all in need.
My oldest is occasionally overcome with a need to guard against all sorts of germs. She will go overboard on the sanitizer and cleansers. She’ll yell at her siblings when they’re bopping along with trash in their hands. She’ll become obsessed with protecting herself by avoiding all things unsanitary. Then she’ll get sick. You see, no matter how hard she tries, she gets sick still. She lives in a house with people… so illness happens. When the rest of the family is sick, she also is the sweetest child. She offers to make my coffee, tells me she’ll get breakfast for her siblings (so long as I get it out and prepare it for her to give to them… cause she can’t reach), and she tries her hardest to heal the broken world around her. In moments like these, she loves well. Everyone gets germs, that’s why we love well.
This is a perspective we need to recognize in the church. It is the equalizing truth that all of humanity is sinful and no one is better than another. Your choice to not pick up the straw has little weight on your frailty. When we recognize this, our work in the church becomes less about how to avoid getting germs (i.e. don’t pick up the straw/ sanitize everything) and more about how to heal the downtrodden and sick. We become less concerned about what not to do, and more about what we should pursue and how to love others. If we can wrap our minds around this simple truth (that we all get germs) we will find ourselves pursuing holiness and enjoying the walk with our father a lot more.