What to learn from babies' shamelessness...
Babies are wonderful. Ever before I became a parent biologically, I have always had an unexplainable fascination and respect for babies. I see them as the genre of human beings that are closest to what God had in mind when he made man-before sin came into the picture.
Few millennia down the line, even the incarnate Lord will one day tell the adults listening to His homily “…unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom.” (Matthew 18:3 MSG) In another discourse, He reminded his adult critics one of the prophecies that had just been fulfilled in their very eyes that “Out of the mouths of babes and unweaned infants You have made (provided) perfect praise” (Matthew 21:16 AMP)
As such, whenever I’m around any little one, I tend to look out for lessons they could teach me. And in the last couple of weeks, my wife and I have watched with amazement two major life-lessons modelled to us daily by our 8-month-old. I’ll share both lessons and trace it to their common root.
I recorded the above video few days ago after watching Joshua rise and fall and pick himself up again. He doesn’t mind how many times he falls in his attempt to stay standing and even take a few steps-something deep down in his God-shaped intuition tells him when you fall, you are supposed to stand again. How quickly we unlearn that as we grow up.
On a couple of occasions, Joshua has fallen off the bed because as far as he’s concerned, there is no height too high or any depth too deep for him as long as there is something that catches his fancy up there or down there, he just goes for it. No matter how high is the barricade we mount around him on our bed, when he’s awake and sees something he wants on the other side of the barricade, he dives towards it-like literally dives. If his hand won’t reach it on first attempt, he gives it another try. And another. And again…till he gets what he wants.
Both of these priceless baby instincts are rooted in one big baby instinct: SHAMELESSNESS! Babies are shameless. Unfortunately, this is one instinct we are urged to do away with the more we grow.
Think about it. If you’ve ever had to repeat a class in your primary or secondary school-or if you’ve ever had to resit a course in your undergraduate or post-graduate degree, you will get a hang of what I’m talking about. What emotion do you feel when you have to attend the same lectures you attended the previous year all over again with younger students? SHAME! But for a baby? Na. It’s just a matter of giving it a go all over again-and as many times as it takes. Now, take that imagination (or memory) even further. If (or when) you (ever) had to retake a course or resit an examination, what other emotion comes with that besides shame? Yeah, you’re right: FEAR! All of a sudden, the thought keeps going back-and-forth in your mind-what if I fail again? What if I have to come back to this exam hall yet another time to rewrite yet the same paper? Before you know it, the fear gains ground and God forbid, your testimony becomes like that of Job: “What I feared most descends on me; my nightmare-now reality.”_ (Job 3:25 VOICE)
All that to say this: Our lack of drive to try again and very many of our fears can be traced back to one thing: our inability to be shameless. So this morning, I’m challenging us to rethink our desire to not be shameless. Dare to be shameless again!
“How do we do that?” you ask.
Same way babies do it!
The real reason why babies are shameless is because of the bond they share with their parents (especially their mum). No matter what they do, there is a figure they trust that is nearby-whose sound of laughter keeps them going and whose hands are strong enough to bear and comfort them when they are hurting. Somewhere deep down in their instinct, this fact is settled.
The good news is there is also such a figure in our lives. Our heavenly father is near enough to touch and strong enough to trust. Others may laugh mockingly at your failures, but your father’s laugh is so different-His is a laughter that oozes forth the freedom to try again. He is near enough to touch-and strong enough to save you. You can trust Him.
May you find the grace to be persistently fearless as your understanding of Whose you are sinks deeper into your worldview in Jesus name.