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The Death of Innocence

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Watching your kids grow up right in front of you can be a beautiful, yet heartbreaking endeavor. Watching my boys learning how to crawl, how to walk, how to ride a bike, and how to shoot a hockey puck has been one of the greatest joys of my life. But there are other things that my boys are learning to do, and they excite me a little bit less.

The other day I was picking the boys up from Children’s Day In. Frequently the class goes down to the WROC for some play time, and they walk back upstairs around noon for pick up. I had come in the same path that they would travel, and saw that another group was meeting in the Yahweh Cafe with boxes of donuts and cookies and such spread out. When I made my way to the CDI room and heard Julian and Josh come screaming around the corner, Julian ran up to me and hugged me and said he wanted to get a snack. I knew what he meant, he had laid eyes on those donuts and wanted a piece of the action. I said, quietly and calmly, that those donuts weren’t for us, they were for other people. Without blinking an eye, Julian said to me “Mama said we could have some!”

Ah, I thought. We’re learning how to lie.

I think what I witnessed was a kind of death. It was the death of my son’s innocence, if he ever had any. By that I mean that I’m a good Calvinist, and believe that humanity is inherently flawed from the start. We are broken from the very beginning Scripture tells us, and we are in dire need of a Savior. We are more inclined to think about ourselves than we are to work for others. We are more inclined to massage the truth to get our own way. We are more likely to hurt than we are to help. If lying to get the donut is good for us, who cares who it’s bad for.

In that moment, in the hallways with the cranky kids and backpacks, I realized that my son was just as caught up in this sin-stained world as I am. I realized that he is going to break hearts, and have his heart broken. I realized that he is going to, much like his father, try to say something that will come out all wrong and hurt someone’s feelings. I realized that this messed up world was going to leave an impact on him. And oh by the way, I have two boys, so all of that times two.

The truth is coming to grips with the death of our innocence is the first step towards discovering our healing in Christ. As much as everyone wants to proclaim that humanity is ultimately good, I think a quick glance at anything on Twitter will prove otherwise. The central reality of our faith is that none of us is any good, but we are loved and claimed by a very good God. Our sense of worth comes not from the good we can or cannot will ourselves to do, but rather it comes from the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

So Julian and I had a conversation about lying. It probably won’t be our last one. And right after that, we had a conversation about God, love, forgiveness, and grace. I’m betting he understood less than 25% of what I was saying. But it’s a start!

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