Over the years I have heard many stories about how parents compelled their children to behave “in church”. Anything from a little pinch on the bottom, taking them out for a good “talking to” and including threats made at home about what will happen if they don’t behave.

I do wonder.

When I served as a pastor I had trouble being upset with children being children. So they talk out loud. If it gets to the point my preaching couldn’t be heard above their voice (after all, I even sometimes had a microphone) my theory was it was time to quit preaching and start singing. My theory did not meet with universal support, nor even minority support for that matter.

Another thing I differed on from my congregations had to do with fast-moving little feet. Children shouldn’t run “in church”. Who invented that? My theory included children, when they meet a long space like an aisle, or an extended cave like under pews, or a hill like a stage, will do what any normal person would do, they ran and crawled. I thought it was neat myself. (No, as an adult I never did crawl under pews, except to retrieve a little one at going-home time.

I stand by my theory still today.

Why should children act like children at their own house, but have to act like adults in God’s house (so-called)?

Jesus said:
“I can guarantee this truth: Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 God’s Word);
“Don’t stop children from coming to me! Children like these are part of the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:14 God’s Word);

“Whoever wants to be the most important person must take the last place and be a servant to everyone else.” Then he took a little child and had him stand among them. He put his arms around the child and said to them, “Whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me. Whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37 God’s Word);

“Don’t stop the children from coming to me. Children like these are part of the kingdom of God. I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it” (Mark 10:14-15 God’s Word).

Innocent, dependent, fresh-eyed and playful kids represent what God enjoys, no kidding!

So who are you kidding…?