Cruel Innocence

Peter Pan seems to be an icon of childhood. Neverland is full of adventure, imagination, and play. You just imagine something and it becomes reality, and happy thoughts make you fly. When I think of Peter, he is a hero! Defeating the evil Captain Hook, Peter restores freedom to the life of the other lost boys… He restores their childhood of play and no responsibility.

However, the original story depicts Peter as a brat of sorts…rude, selfish and cruel. He is inconsiderate and harsh with his words. Yet, O so beautifully, that is the author’s point. Peter Pan embodies what it means to be a child. The cruelness was not intentional or thought out. He didn’t know any better. He was innocent in his cruelty.

I hear stories all the time about atrocious things kids can say… they can be so awfully blunt. “Why is that lady so fat? Why do you have that big red thing on your face (referring to a zit… yes, I got that one)?” Other times kids divulge a whole slew of information that parents and family members would be appalled to know it had gotten out. But through it all, kids act in innocence…intending no harm.

I have seen the same reality in scripture… there is a time in childhood when we don’t know good from evil.

Exodus talks about the tribes of Israel and their children… how there is a time when children don’t know good from evil. Again, and more dramatically, the same thing is said about Jesus in Isaiah 7: 15-16…That there is a time when He will not know to reject evil and choose good. It hit me… it seems like Adam and Eve were in the same situation before eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Prior to eating the fruit, Adam and Eve did not know to reject the evil and choose the good (or so one could assume from the passages). One may say that they were at their most raw self. They did not have the ability to do the right thing. There was no filter. No gaging of goodness. And yet, this is where God dwelled with them. That is where He met them. Where He created them. He loved them at their core. Their wretched, unpolished core.

 

We talk about what it means to be childlike… because Jesus says that if you are not like a child, then you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Maybe a part of being like a child is accepting Christ’s love just because it’s ours. Just as you are, you are embraced and welcomed by God.

 

So, let the freedom of a child invade your soul. I am thankful that we can choose good and reject evil. Yet, may we still know we are loved just as we are. We don’t have to try any more.

May grace be upon you little ones.

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