TERRE HAUTE —
One day when Jesus was with His disciples, they asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus beckoned a child to come stand among them and then told the disciples: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatestthe kingdom of heaven.” (Read the whole encounter in Matthew 18:1-6.)
I thought I understood that verse till about 10 days ago.
My six-year old grandson wandered into my sewing room. He’s been told hundreds of times, “Leave Nonnie’s sewing things alone.” Nevertheless, he reached out to more closely investigate a lamp that was fastened to my sewing table with a clamp. When the lamp would not move, he pushed. When it resisted his pushing, he pushed harder, breaking the lamp, clamp and all. With his lower lip sticking out, my grandson asked, “Can you fix it, Papaw? When Papaw said it was too broken to fix, my grandson ran to the bedroom, dove under the covers and began to sob.
I went in to comfort him. He was sobbing so hard he could barely mutter, “I’m sorry, Nonnie.” Brokenly, he told me, “I don’t like to have to say ‘Sorry.’” I told him none of us liked to say “I’m sorry,” but he shook his head and said, “No, Nonnie. I don’t like to be sorry.” Then, through my own tears, I asked, “You mean you don’t like to do things that are wrong?” He nodded. “Nonnie, I don’t like to do bad things even when I know I’m doing bad things.” I hugged him and told him that I loved him and forgave him. He smiled though his tears and then all was well again in his 6-year-old heart.
My grandson knew he should not touch Nonnie’s sewing things, because he had been told that over and over. But he touched them anyway, and the consequences were awful. Not only had he broken something that didn’t belong to him, but what was broken could not be fixed. His remorse and sorrow over what he had done shattered his heart, and he cried out his sin to the one he had sinned against.
That’s when it hit me. That’s when I understood Jesus’ words to his disciples: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Little children know enough to admit when they’ve done wrong. They don’t have adult-like pride that prevents them from admitting their sin. The hearts of little children have not yet been hardened, and when they realize they have hurt someone, their hearts are broken. Little children feel genuine regret, remorse and shame when they do wrong. Yet, when they are forgiven, little children readily accept the love and forgiveness that covers their sin.
Would that we would become more like little children, heeding the warnings about what we are not supposed to do, being genuinely broken-hearted over our sins, confessing our sins to the one we sinned against, and rejoicing over the forgiveness we receive.
“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like a child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, maybe reached at email@example.com.
TERRE HAUTE —
Lizzy Long, Little Roy Lewis to perform at Union Christian Church in March
Lizzy Long and Little Roy Lewis are scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m. March 28 at Union Christian Church, 5350 E. Hulman Drive.
THE JOY LADY: Don’t let the grouchiness seep in with the snow
I don’t know if you’ve noticed it or not, but people are starting to get… well… umm… how can I say it gracefully? People are starting to get grouchy. And that makes me kinda grouchy, too.
- CHURCH BRIEFS: Feb. 22, 2013
Lenten book study series set
Those who wonder what happened during the second Vatican Council can plan to attend a Lenten study series based on John W. O’Malley’s book, “What Happened at Vatican II,” scheduled for the four Thursdays in March.
National Catholic Sisters Week
Sister Editha Ben, vocation director for the Sisters of Providence, will attend the first National Catholic Sisters Week March 8-14 along with Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College student Josephine Nieto.
Joy Lady: Finding the importance of truth described in the Bible
The Bible. It’s my favorite book of all time. I read it. I study it. I teach it. I quote from it. I write about it. I sing songs about it. I love the Bible in many formats, for I use several translations and paraphrases. And I’ve even been known to borrow my husband’s Greek New Testament to check on some phrase or word from the original.
- Church briefs; Feb. 15, 2014
Ministry hosts teen suicide presentation; announces call for actors
Innovative Anointed Ministries in Terre Haute is hosting a presentation Saturday, Feb. 15, on teen suicide, and how people should not be afraid to speak out and help save lives among their peers.
“Speak Life — Show Love” begins at noon Saturday in Saints Home Church of God In Christ at 2210 N. 13th St.
Church presents ‘Love Languages’ author’s video seminar on Valentine’s weekend
Gary Chapman wrote the original edition of “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted” in 1979.
Now a nationally known author and relationship counselor, with a radio program heard on more than 100 stations across the United States, Chapman first published the book under the title, “Toward a Growing Marriage,” 35 years ago.
- CHURCH BRIEFS: Feb. 8, 2013
THE JOY LADY: A half-crazed squirrel, Sister Bertha and secret sins
Today we’re going to discuss Sister Bertha Better Than You. She’s the dear sister who was immortalized in Ray Stevens’ “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival.”
Brenda Doreen Murphy
MARTINSVILLE, Ill. — Brenda Doreen Murphy, 66, of Martinsville, passed away at 5:55 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, at her home.
THE JOY LADY: Be joyful, pray continually, give thanks for God’s glory
There’s a special framed picture in our house.
- RELIGION BRIEFS: Feb. 1, 2014
- CHURCH BRIEFS: Jan. 25, 2013
THE JOY LADY: Those good Old Testament stories teach us many lessons
I love a good story — the kind of story that makes me think about it long after I’ve heard it or read about it.
Joy Lady: Jesus’ last words give step-by-step approach to personal evangelism
We all want to have the last word, don’t we?
- Church briefs: Jan. 18, 2014
‘Winter Night of Prayer’ set for Thursday
The Sisters of Providence invite people of all faith traditions to St. Mary-of-the-Woods for “A Winter Night of Prayer” in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Joy Lady: Wish we would all be a bit more child-like; don’t you?
Recently, our two oldest grandchildren spent a few days with us. When their parents came to pick them up, their daddy asked them, “What was the best thing about staying here?” Without hesitation, they both pointed to my husband and me and said, “Being with Nonnie and Papaw!” It melted our hearts.
- Church briefs: Jan. 11, 2013
Joy Lady: Want a way to keep your resolutions? Resolve to change your thinking
It should come as no surprise to my regular readers that I don’t “do” new year’s resolutions. Nope. Don’t believe in them. In fact, the entire time I’ve written this little column — going on 14 years, now — I have not once dedicated a column to any new year’s resolutions. I’ve confessed that I know any resolution or promise I make will be one I will break before the new year is even a week old. I’m just that kind of gal.
- Church briefs: Jan. 4, 2013
Joy Lady: We shouldn’t play the exchange game with God
The packages have been opened and the wrappings discarded. The toys have been played with. The electronics have had their batteries charged and their software downloaded. The cookies and candy have been passed around and eaten. The leftovers have been forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. That’s because Christmas is … well, it’s ummm … it’s over. Now it’s the season for The Great Gift Exchange.
- Church briefs: Dec. 28, 2013
Seven Sisters of Providence celebrate 70 years
This year, seven Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods will celebrate 70 years in the congregation.
Joy Lady: At the top of my list of favorite things …
Here is this year’s list of a few of my favorite things.
- Church briefs: Dec. 21, 2013
Four celebrate 75, 80 years as Sisters
This year two Sisters of Providence of St. Mary-of-the-Woods will celebrate 75 years in the congregation, and two will mark 80-year anniversaries.
New Providence Associates commit to works of love, mercy, justice
Recently 21 Providence Associates pledged “to make a commitment that will honor Divine Providence and further God’s loving plans through works of love, mercy and justice in service among God’s people.” Most did so in a ceremony Nov. 9 in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at St. Mary-of-the-Woods.
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- Lizzy Long, Little Roy Lewis to perform at Union Christian Church in March