I heard someone recently expressing his doubts as to whether young children can truly be converted. While I sympathized with some of his concerns, (in terms of not giving false assurance) I was struck by something very strange that he said. It may be that I misheard him or that he would have explained it differently in a one on one conversation, but still to me, this is a pretty big fail, he said that one of the reasons that he wasn’t sure that young children could truly be converted was because to be converted you have to repent of your sins and … what really does a child of three or four have to repent of?
Now at that very moment, the whole rest of his argument went up in smoke for me. In fact, that for me is a jaw dropping thing to say actually. Either he hasn’t been around young children very often or he has a different understanding of sin because the reality is young children have much to repent of, just like you and me. I am a kid person, I like kids, but look, children are incredibly selfish, from birth. The amount of self-worship that goes on in a child’s life is shocking. Classic example, driving home from the airport yesterday. We had picked someone up who is going to spend the summer as an intern here in South Africa. And you know what our two year old did for a significant portion of the ride home? Complain, whine and try to get mom’s attention off of the conversation she was having with this young lady onto her. Maybe she was just having a hard time sitting still for so long, you say? Well, no. This was about mom, worship me.
When we dropped the young lady off at the baby home and drove off together, all smiles the whole way home.
I just get disappointed when I hear someone saying something like that because the fact is that this is one of the things that makes me love the gospel so much. I look back on my life, I look back to even before I could talk and what was I doing, I was trying to find the ways to make the world all about me. I am so severely messed up that no one had to train me in doing the wrong thing, no one had to teach me idolatry, I was going at it from the start and yet, what? God loves me. God’s willing to forgive me. There’s hope for a person like me and it’s found not in my life and my efforts – how could it be? It’s found instead in the person and work of Jesus Christ.