Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Jesus’ Reverse Psychology - Martin Wiles

Then he said, “Anyone who wants to be the first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” Then he put a little child among them. Mark 9:35-36

“But we’re only twelve years old.”

I’ve heard the above statement—or variations of it, numerous times. One of my tasks as a Middle School teacher is to instill responsibility in the students. At their age, most of them buck my efforts. Even though I give them due dates for their projects and papers on the first day of class, most of them never look at the syllabus again. They’d rather ask me and depend on me to remind them. 

In spite of the fact that the school handbook states a student must consult their teacher about make-up work, many fail to do so and receive a reduction in their grade or even a zero. Some parents think we’re overly tough on their young children, but we know teaching children responsibility—even when it stings, will benefit them later in life. 

Jesus, however, used reverse psychology. While on the way to Capernaum, His disciples argued about which of them was the greatest. Ironically, Jesus didn’t say it was the one who was the most responsible but rather the one who was most dependent. And he put a child in their midst to demonstrate it. 

Jesus’ intention was a little different. Total dependence on someone else is risky and unhealthy. Total dependence on Him is essential and spiritually healthy. Children—at least initially, have total trust in their parents. Jesus wants the same from His followers. Total trust leads to a spiritually fulfilled life. Jesus will never disappoint us and will always guide us in the right direction.

Like with their teachers, children often think their parents know everything. Later, they discover they didn’t. Jesus, on the other hand, does know all things. He is omniscient. Since He knows all things—past, present, and future, I can place my total trust in Him. 

Children also think their parents can do everything. Getting, “I thought you knew how to do everything,” when a child discovers their parents aren’t all-knowing isn’t that unusual. Jesus, however, can do all things. He’s all powerful—omnipotent. 

And perhaps most basic of all, children believe their parents will care for them—now and forever. Many do; unfortunately, many don’t. Jesus always will. He never abandons His children. 

Are you trusting Christ like a child?

Prayer: Father, help us to trust You as a child does their parent. 

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