I love working with children. I learn so much about life from them. It’s the reason I’ve remained a teacher in the children’s arm of my Christian Centre for almost 13 years now. Relating with the children this past Sunday was a reminder to me of what a dear friend of mine said to his dear friends of His few hundred years ago: …For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.
When it comes to relating to the 8 to 9 year-olds in my class, I can be quite dramatic and creative. I’ve since realized that a children’s church class wherein the children are in perfect silence for 5 minutes or more usually is a good indication that either the children are sleepy, sick or just afraid of being punished if they make a noise. So I decided it was of little use trying to ensure my class was silent. I try to listen to as many of the kids when they simultaneously tried to air their views. I had gisted with them for about 25 minutes when I thought it was wise to even ask my audience what they had learnt so far that very day.
I noticed 2 girls jotting notes as if they were preparing for their final ICAN paper. Come to think of it, the way those ICAN students study for exams ehn, they should be given guaranteed slots in heaven. Anyway, let me continue. And so I decided to ask one of the girls to read one of the sentences she had jotted down in her notes. I was a little taken aback when she read it out to the class’ hearing. THIS CHRISTIANITY THING ISN’T EASY. That’s what she read. I asked why she wrote that and she said that was one of the key points I mentioned earlier. I smiled in Chinese.
Sometimes I struggled with the notion that the 79mins I spend with them on Sunday mornings has no long-term impact in their lives. But that Sunday morning, I was sure. I was sure that the few minutes they spend in church from their 168 weekly hours….. Those few minutes really are worthwhile investments. They may not look like they’re paying attention or heeding your teachings but they’re listening. I smiled again in Yoruba.
Truth be told, she was right. Indeed I had blurted out earlier in the teaching session the frustration I experienced a day earlier that made me reach that conclusion: THIS CHRISTIANITY THING ISN’T EASY. I mean think about it, how can someone advice you to turn your cheek when someone slaps you. Does it make sense to pray for your enemy and those that spitefully use you? It seems to make more sense to me to pray for your enemy to just die. I mean like heart attack, or kidney failure or brain tumor kind of die. Does it make sense to look upon those that falsely accused you of something and mutter words that still gives me shivers when I think about it sometimes: FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING. Does that even make sense? Seriously, who does that?
And so I told my kids that indeed THIS CHRISTIANITY THING ISN’T EASY. However that wasn’t the complete sentence I concluded with. I mentioned that unless we ask for help from the convener of this Christianity conference, we will keep missing the mark. I encouraged them to try to digest the contents of the Bible everyday. I stressed that it would help if at least they focus on the new testament for a start. I encouraged them to ask their parents for the audio version since I did a poll and discovered that they were 22.3 times more likely to listen to & entertain an audio message than to read the same message. I encouraged them to talk to their Maker everyday and before they knew it, they would start behaving and thinking like the author and finisher of their faith.
This is the same admonition I give you this moment with the hope that you can look at that person that has deeply hurt you and do or say exactly what Jesus would have done or said: FATHER FORGIVE THEM FOR THEY DO NOT…..