One day, I was walking by the playground at our church’s child care center. A bunch of the 4-year-olds came over to the fence and called my name, “Brother Bob! Brother Bob!”
I stopped by the fence to talk to the boys and girls. One of the kids said, “I saw you on TV.” He had seen our church’s 15-second TV commercial on the local CBS affiliate. I said, “When you see me, be sure and wave to me.” He said he would. More kids came running to the fence, yelling, “Brother Bob! Brother Bob!” I was eating it up, feeling like such a celebrity. It was a beautiful day, and I asked them if they were having fun playing on the swing and the slide. They said yes. Then I said, “I wish I could go down the slide, but I’m too big.” A little boy replied, “Yeah, you would break the whole thing.”
There’s nothing like an honest kid to remind you when you’re too big for your britches. Another Simon Cowell in the making.
Most adults are too polite to be that honest. So we go on wearing clothes that look terrible because people tell us we look good in them, and we go on singing in church when we should be helping in the nursery, because people tell us that we sounded good.
I’m not saying we should be cruel, and probably it’s best to say nothing about things that don’t really matter. But what makes this really sad is that we also are in danger of falling into unethical behavior if we don’t have somebody who loves us enough to lovingly tell us we are wrong. The apostle Paul said it well: “Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit.” (Galatians 6:1, HCSB) “Restore” means honest confrontation. “A gentle spirit” requires love.
I’m glad the little boy by the fence reminded me of that. After all, I wouldn’t want to break his slide.
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)