And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 18:2–3 ESV
After a great start to the season, my favorite MLB baseball team went from first place to struggling to stay out of last place.
“No wonder they lose,” I grumbled as I listened to a game on the radio. “They keep putting in Vasquez as a closer.”
In a previous game he took the mound in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-run lead, walked three of the eight batters he faced, and gave up two earned runs, all with a grand total of 36 pitches. Yet he eked out the save. I was so upset I posted on Facebook “#notacloser.”
So when they put him in again I firmly believed he’d blow the save.
“Here goes the game,” I muttered.
Felipe came through. Then and in subsequent games. All he needed was someone to believe in him and give him another chance.
When did I become so cynical?
I thought of a recent Little League game I attended. Rain earlier in the day had filled the potholes with water, and there was a big one near where we set up our chairs – just outside the center field fence. You’d think drivers would see the big puddle, the people sitting nearby, and either go around it or through it slowly. But no, several drivers hit it dead center at a good speed, spraying muddy rainwater five feet away.
So I yelled at every driver that splashed through the puddle and gave the “dare stare” to everyone who approached it. I thought DH was going to find someplace else to watch the game. But I just didn’t feel like being nice.
So not like me – being cynical and critical. I’m usually accused of being too nice, too gullible, too patient.
Which got me thinking about cynicism.
Why are adults so cynical?
Life has made them that way. Disappointment, unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams, squashed hopes, disillusionment – all breed doubt.
We think we’re being wise by being cautious, but, really, are we? Aren’t we just being cynical? Does it have to be that way?
Don’t you miss being a kid? Not bridling your enthusiasm, not restraining your joy. Children readily believe, trust and forgive. They aren’t afraid to hope. They dream big and believe their dreams will come true. They aren’t cynical or critical. They’ll give you a second chance. They’ll laugh at being splashed. After all, it’s only water with a little bit of dirt.
“Unless you turn and become like children,” Jesus said, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Nor will you truly enjoy life. While I can give myself good marks in the faith department, I can’t in life.
Yes, we have bad days, times when we simply don’t feel like putting up and shutting up. But I don’t need to act out my frustration and momentary unhappiness.
I have some work to do.
Renew my childlike faith, Lord – in You and in life. Squash the cynic and critic in me. Give me the courage to unbridle my joy, set my enthusiasm free, and fling my hopes and dreams to the stars that they may soar. Amen.