Recently, I was studying the book of Jonah with my teens. I asked them, “What character traits of God do you see displayed in this book?”
My daughter, who is the most compassionate one of all of us, always caring for others and looking out for the animals, said, I see God’s compassion toward the people of Ninevah.
Then she said something that struck me. “It made me think about how much more compassion I need to have toward those around me.”
Now, this is the kid who will cry along with a sibling just because she feels their pain or sorrow. She’s the one, who for some unknown reason, always finds the dead animals on our farm and comes sobbing to the house to be comforted. She will hug you just because she senses your sadness or frustration. She’ll always, and I truly mean always, set aside her wants and desires to accommodate her siblings or friends.
Of all the people, I wouldn’t have expected her to say she needed to have more compassion toward others.
It was a profound reminder that none of us have ever arrived. Our gifts and talents aren’t ever perfected this side of heaven and we can all always improve, even if we’re good at something.
It also reminded me how much I can learn from these young people in my home. So often, we forget how intelligent and how in tune to the Holy Spirit our kids are. Often they get it so much faster and deeper than we do! There’s a reason God said we had to become like little children to enter His kingdom. These kids get it! And if we’re willing, they can teach us so much.
Growing up I remember many times where we as kids were brushed aside and told to be quiet. At family gatherings there were lots of us cousins and, while I’m sure we were loud and rambunctious, we were always told to play in the basement or outside. Our thoughts and opinions weren’t asked of us and didn’t seem to matter.
Now, I’m not perfect at this, but my goal is to be humble enough to realize I haven’t arrived yet, just like my kids, and they have a lot to teach me about this world, how to treat others, and about who God is.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”