I've been accused of being too serious. Does that surprise you, friends of the blog-o-sphere, with all my stories of falling down and loving laughter and chasing raindrops? Does it surprise you that people think I'm too serious?
I've learned that not everyone likes to read books stuffed full of long syllabled words and very few people want to ask if those long syllabled words would ever change my plans for the day. And I get it. Sometimes, I forget that "taking a genuine interest in the welfare of others" means doing things that matter little to me because they matter much to someone else. Sometimes, I act like the child who once told me, "Please stop doing anything that you like." Sometimes, I find myself in a self-righteous wrestling match because I think, "Shouldn't we all be serious about the things of God (even if it means strings of long syllables)?"
And then I think about the children who came to Jesus. They probably had a hard time pronouncing their Rs and words that started with C. Their understanding of love and grace and kindness didn't come from a study of thick textbooks.
I imagine they did have a certain seriousness about them, but not the self-righteous and learned kind.
I've seen this seriousness play across children's faces in the most solemn moments, when the line between right and wrong is being drawn on their hearts and in their heads for the first time. I can hear the nervous claims coming out from wide eyes,
"She took it from me and I yelled at her." "But Mommy said to never go in there..." "Why doesn't the man have food?" "I hit my brother." "Laney took a cookie."
You can hear them, can't you? The confessions and questions come out slowly and with those little eyebrows arching high to scrunch the forehead.
There is a seriousness about children when it comes to sin that I think wears off as we age. We get comfortable with the idea that we fail and we get tired of the wide-eyed confessions.
But there is something very sad about being cavalier with our sin, an emptiness apathy and disregard can't replace. Have you ever stuck around after a child does mini-battle with the questions/confessions above? Do you see what happens?
When they recognize how serious it is to sin, they are freed to be truly joyful. There is nothing hidden. Their (or human) failure is exposed and there is nothing left to rationalize - just space to revel in the gratitude that they are forgiven, accepted, invited, loved.
I'm currently reading both Leviticus and Galatians and the contrast is captivating.
We serve a serious God. Sin is not a Sunday School lesson. The hoops the Israelites had to jump through on account of their sin were certainly not neatly wrapped up in a 20 minute moral lesson. The rules and regulations set up a healthy fear of the Lord and a distaste for anything that divided their relationship with Him. Sin is serious. I cannot imagine living in that time. I mean, I've tried imagining it and I nearly always end up pleading with the Lord to be a little more understanding. But, the Lord keeps reminding my heart, "Sin is serious."
Then, I flip to Galatians and just want to dance. If I have the right (serious) view of sin, my salvation is like dancing with the cast of Fiddler on the Roof as they sing, "To Life, to life, l'chaim!"
I am free. Free!
How is it that children get this - that we got this as kids - and adults don't?
If sin is serious, then so is JOY.
We were brought OUT of serious darkness and INTO serious light. Why is it so hard to understand that a frivolous position on the former means a frivolous position on the latter?
It's true, I can be too serious sometimes and I'm rightly called out when I'm trying to puff myself up. But, brothers and sisters, can we agree to build up the Body of Christ by being serious about sin so we can be serious about joy?