Suffer the Little Children
Getting Personal With Christianity 11
When the Savior stood among the people of Nephi, He called for the children's parents to bring them to Him so that He could bless each individually. What was the significance of that act? What does the Savior mean when He says to “suffer the children to come unto” Him? Let us explore together what the Savior meant and see if we do not gain understanding into each of our roles, individually in suffering the Children.
On a social media site I saw the phrase to suffer the children. To my understanding, it meant to allow the children to go toward to the Savior. It meant to present them to the Savior without hindering them in any way. I then felt a tug at my mind and a new concept entered into it—one that everyone else may be aware of save me. Suffering the children means so much more than avoiding to prevent them from going to the Lord. I started to see a web of behavior that all of us must engage to suffer the children to go to Christ.
We would not dream of blocking a child’s progress towards Christ! In our behavior, however, do we stand as a stone of stumbling? In our words, do we close the path off that leads to the Holy One? With our entertainment, do we prevent a child from feeling His grace through the Spirit?
Yes, there is more to suffering the children to come to Christ than I initially considered. To suffer or allow the children to come unto Christ means that I must come unto Christ. I am a child of His. Who am I to prevent, me, a child of God from coming unto Christ and therefore preventing a young child or children from going to Him?
Come Unto Christ
What does it mean to come unto Christ? I served as a missionary in the Cape Town South Africa mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In that mission, my first area was in Umtata in the Western Cape. I am told that Nelson Mandela is from that area, though not the city itself. That area is important to me because it is where I noticed the invitation of the Savior to Come unto me (Him).
Now, I italicized it because of how significant that statement became to me at that time in my life. Here I was in a foreign land teaching people about what I believe to be true! I was teaching them to come unto to Jesus Christ! I was the one doing the inviting! Who were they coming to? They were coming to me!
Come Unto Him
While I was in Umtata, I issued many invitations. Some were accepted. Though I had joined the Church and was at the time serving a mission, I am sure I understood the coming to Christ process at least a little during that time. I heard this song from the Seminary soundtrack for the New Testament. It was Come Unto Him.
I fell in love with the song and I wanted to hear it every day! The words brought me to tears. There was nothing about the performer of that song that screamed “Big Celebrity” to me when I heard it. There was, however, a burning feeling that entered my heart when I heard the words.
In my mind, I pictured the Savior standing in the distance. My path was clear before my feet which led to Him. When the singer melodiously provided the invitation to come unto Him, in my heart I went.
In my heart now as I type I feel the desire to be more holy just because I know more what the invitation means now! It means that I need to change my life to be in harmony with the teachings of Christ and follow the examples He provided through the scriptures and other people. Now that was something!
I have already decided to be baptized into the Church. I have already promised to tell people about it and represent it, the Church. Why do I think I needed to do more to come to Christ, to go to Christ?
Apparently, the 2014 theme for the youth of the Church was this phrase. It is the name of a song, other than the one in the New Testament Sound Track. I googled the title and listened to the song as I typed this article. Tears came to my eyes because I knew exactly what it meant to come unto to Christ. The invitation comes from my heart as I have accepted Him as my Savior when I was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church. Now that I have made that great step, He wants me to be like Him. I come to Him by making changes that turn me into a savior, as He is the Savior.
Christ taught, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" Matthew 5:16.
Salvation Through Andy Griffith?
Now, I know this sounds strange to some, but it is the truth. I sat thinking after reading the words on the social media site. I had been very worldly in my form of entertainment for so long and it bothered me that there was so much filth out there to look at. I decided to look at the Andy Griffith Show because of John Bytheway. It came up as if a beacon to me to pull me out of the black abys of worldly showdom. I just made that word up and I am keeping it!
I clicked on the show, using Netflix, and I began with the first episode. I did not think I would enjoy it but I did. I went to the second episode and enjoyed it. I stopped and evaluated myself and found that I felt like I had been cleaned!
I kid you not! It felt like the show scrubbed all the bad thoughts and images I allowed myself to experience away. It worked! I discovered in that moment if I put wholesome entertainment in my life that I feel better. If I put questionable entertainment in my life, I feel… well, questionable. If I put bad entertainment… you get the picture I hope.
Into the Light
How could I in good conscience tell my children to make good choices when it comes to entertainment when I am not doing that? Christ said to let my light so shine that kids will see my good works and glorify God. I took some liberty with the verse here.
If I am letting my light shine by looking at darkness, then my kids will see that darkness in me and glorify who? How can I suffer them to come to Christ with a gaping hole of blackness blocking the light I shine towards Him?
It will be hard to change. I love darkness, apparently. The salacious and gory things put out by the media are titillating and exciting but not edifying. It is hard to change because it is my favorite sin. It is a weakness in me.
God reveals to the prophet Ether:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them. Ether 12:27
We must trust and believe that as we are weak, He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves us. The scriptures tell us so. We can suffer the children to come to Christ by the light we shine as we live our lives.
© 2018 Rodric Anthony