My daughter is a very sweet, adorable 2 year-old. We love playing hide and seek and it works the same every time. I don’t know at what age hide and seek “clicks” for little children, but at 2 it’s just so adorable that I’m glad it hasn’t.
First, the house gets very quiet. Maybe you have quiet children, so that’s nothing unusual. I don’t. When it gets quiet around my house, I know something’s wrong. Either something is broken or someone is hiding from me. Sometimes it’s both.
When my daughter hides, I can’t help myself but to walk around the house asking myself the ridiculous rhetorical question, “Where’s Emily? Where is she? Where could she be hiding?” It’s not about me truly being puzzled; half the time I already know where she is. It’s all about her reaction.
Here I Am!
When she hears me ask where she is two or three times she can’t help but to jump out of whatever closet she’s in or from whatever dining chair she’s under and exclaim, “Here I am, Daddy!” Like I said, she doesn’t get hide and seek yet, but her bright eyes warms my heart so much I just can’t take it. The process is usually accompanied by a big hug and then starts all over again.
It all started with silence. Maybe a little giggling, but mostly silence.
At no point did I ever forget that I have a 2 year-old. In fact, the silence reminded me all the more that I have a little one. When I can’t hear she or her brother, I know there’s something I should be tending to. Not hearing little voices doesn’t cause me to forget their existence, it makes me that much more aware of them. That’s not because I’m a good parent, it’s because I’m human.
When people do forget, it’s not because they’re stupid, it’s because they’ve willfully taken on stupidity. They’ve chosen it. Maybe with a little help; drugs, alcohol and certainly an enemy who constantly wars against us named Satan. All those things help people make bad decisions, but it all starts with a choice.
I See You!
Our old “self,” that fleshly nature, is a lot like my 2 year-old. No matter how quiet it is, I know it’s always there. A lot of times it’s in my kitchen beating on pots and pans with spoons and I can’t hear anything else in life to forget it’s there. At other times, it gets suspiciously quiet. I can’t hear that pride. I don’t see my selfish ambitions creeping around. But I know what to do.
In a way, self is an adorable 2 year-old. When it’s hiding, just call for it. When you can’t find it, call it’s name and after a time or two it just can’t help itself but jump out of the pantry and yell, “here I am!”
Scripture teaches us to be very aware that we always have this little 2 year-old with us. Just because we don’t hear it doesn’t mean that we all of a sudden ceased to be human. It’s going to be with us until we leave this life. It’s not going away. Just like a 2 year-old it needs discipline. Unlike a 2 year-old, it doesn’t need nurturing.
To be a good parent, you don’t have to read every James Dobson book on parenting. In fact, 95% of the battle of being a good parent is just being there and recognizing your child’s existence. To be a growing, maturing Christian, you don’t have to have studied theology for years. No, 95% of that battle is just recognizing that your old nature is still around and kicking. Trying to kick you, that is.
Again, parents go bad when they make the choice to forget. Drugs, alcohol and Satan all help them do it. When that happens, we as a society take their children away and lock them up. Christians who choose to believe that they’ve overcome their old nature, that selfish ambition and horrible pride, they’ve willfully doped themselves on the drugs Satan has to offer us.
Sadly, instead of taking their children away, our Christian society often makes much of them. We place them on pedestals as something to behold. Somehow these shining examples have overcome the common temptations of man that scripture tells us even Jesus suffered under. They are no longer subject to the problems of lust, greed, envy, strife, jealousy and the myriad of other ways our selfish nature deploys itself.
These guys are no less dangerous to our society than meth-lab parents. They’ve got the same 2 year-old we do, and it’s alive and well. They’re teaching that with enough faith, money, Bible knowledge or any other thing that self is conquerable, but it’s just not true.
As Any Parent Knows, Silence Is Bad
When we have a moral victory, self becomes quiet. He goes and hides. Is he not there anymore? Just call his name a few times. He’ll come out. Self is so adorable like that. And that’s the scary thing about our human nature. We’re so prone to believe that we’ve conquered it when it gets quiet, and that’s when its the most dangerous.
When your self is quiet inside of you, that’s when you should know you have a little mischievous 2 year-old whose broken something or is going to jump out at you at just the right time. Unlike the 2 year-old, it’s not a happy embrace when you finally find each other.
Don’t choose to be stupid. Choose to acknowledge that it’s always there. Choose humility. We don’t overcome self through moral victories. We only overcome in this life through the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. Self will be there until we die. We can’t fully conquer it, but we can only keep our eye on it and keep it out of trouble.