Maybe the word "adult" means something totally different to some people than it does to me, but I just don't get the terms "adult language," "adult entertainment" "adult beverages..." Even as a kid I thought those terms were ridiculous. It's like saying, "When you are old enough, you can drink this stuff that makes you lose all senses and act like an idiot...and you can smoke this stuff that gives you lung cancer." "When you are old enough to get married, then you can look at this stuff that will ruin your marriage." "When you are old enough, you can lose all control of your tongue and say all manner of filth to appropriately express the way you are feeling...but until then, you must learn to control yourself."
Obviously, I'm not saying kids should be allowed to cuss, drink, and smoke...but I think you know what I am trying to say. Adults shouldn't do them either! After years of being taught by our parents not to do those things, you would think we would just decide not to do them. The thing is, our parents really weren't teaching us not to do them if they were doing them; they were just telling us that what they were doing was wrong for us to do...well, at least until we were "adults' like them!
We understand, of course, that there are things children are physically unable to do that a fully developed person can do. There are concepts and ideas that a child can't handle yet, and so we try to shelter them from those things. When I found out that Donald Trump was 65 and married to a 45 year-old (or something like that), honestly, I thought "Ok, whatever." It was a little weird, but who am I to tell a man how old his wife must be. However, had he been 30 when he married her (his wife would have been around 10)...well, let's just say I'd be using some "adult language" right now.
The founder of Islam, Mohammad, was 50 when engaged to a 6 year old, and history states that he consummated the marriage when she was 9. That infuriates me! Not because there was a 44-year difference in the age, but because I recognize the difference between an "adult" and a "child."
Unfortunately, too many "adults" these days aren't really adults at all. There is certainly a difference, beyond the physical, between a child and an adult, and if we are going to be adults who would attempt to lead children toward adulthood, we need to first know what those differences are. The apostle Paul (through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) lays out the perfect outline for this topic. In 1 Corinthians 13:11, he says "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." So in this article, let's think about how a child speaks, thinks, and understands so we can see what behaviors we should be "putting away."
How Children Speak
First of all, Children tend to speak too much. A few generations ago, parents would say that children weren't supposed to speak unless spoken to. That would upset some people now, but honestly, I think it biblical that we all try to be more like that. The Bible basically tells us to learn how to be quiet and do our work (1 Thess. 4:11). We shouldn't desire to teach everyone everything we know (James 3:1), but instead we should try to listen and learn more than we talk (James 1:19). Secondly, Children tend to speak too rashly. They often say the first thing that comes to their mind with no real filter. As adults, we need to set the example by getting over that tendency. We should think about a matter before we act upon it (Proverbs 18:13), and we should refrain from speaking out in anger . Remember when our parents tried to teach us "if you don't have anything nice to say..." Well, clearly there are times to say things that won't be received well, but over all, it should be our desire that our words edify (Ephesians 4:29).
How Children Think
Children tend to think too selfishly. Our parents tried so hard to teach us how to share with others. They wanted us to think of others and help them (especially the less fortunate). Yet so many adults are yet to adopt this philosophy today. The Bible is full of verses commanding us to put others above ourselves, and it tells us particularly to help those who are weaker than us (1 Thess. 5:14, Romans 12:10, Romans 15:1).
Also, children tend to think too simply. It hurts their brains to do any "deep thinking." It took many of us about 12 years of school to begin thinking a little deeper...then many of us reverted mentally back to elementary school. The Bible says we should keep studying, and keep digging into His Word (2 Timothy 2:15, Acts 17:11). We are supposed to prove all things (1 Thess. 5:21, Romans 12:2) and to be ready with an answer to all men regarding the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15). We need to continue to learn and grow!
How Children Understand
Children tend to take things too literally. I have tried to stop saying things like "Jesus lives inside of me" to kids. If I don't explain it just right, they may go for years thinking Jesus is a little man that has made little homes inside of human chest cavities where he can go live when invited. As adults, we learn to make the application to metaphors, but at first it is hard to think in abstract. Jesus spoke in parables to help people understand some basic principles (Matthew 13:34). We need to be careful not to take things more literal than they need to be taken (this is not to say the Bible as a whole isn't to be taken literally, but there are so many places where God obviously just wants us to get a concept, yet we try to make it more difficult than it should be). I believe so many false doctrines are due to lack of some basic understanding in regards to biblical principles.
Finally, children tend to be too gullible. As adults (particularly Christian adults), it is imperative that we aren't easily deceived. The Bible makes it clear that the devil would love to deceive us. He walks around like a lion, trying to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8), but we must endure sound doctrine and not be so easily deceived (Ephesians 4:14, Galatians 1:6).
We live in a society of 12-year-olds (no offense to 12-year-olds)! I hate to admit it, but look around at the way the majority of people are living today. Many are stuck in junior high and cannot get out. Grown men and women are still living in their childhood fantasy worlds. Grown men and women are still behaving like kids! Have you watched how our countries future leaders behave themselves in presidential debates and in the media? Lord help us as Christian men and women to grow up so that we might be able to teach our young people how to move beyond the behavior we see all around us! Let us point them to God's Word! Let us show them with our lives what a grown up can be!
Thanks for reading. Lord bless your ministry as you addict yourself to it (1 Corinthians 16:15)
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