If there ever was an argument for original sin, it’s the lifestyle of a toddler. My theory is that a one year old becomes extra cute just when its time to begin disciplining her for wanting to dominate the world and all the people in it. My granddaughter Skylar fits that description perfectly with a sky-high cuteness factor but a stubborn determination to match. She’s totally captivating just as every one year old is, and can’t understand why she isn’t the center of the universe.
Louisa, Birgitta and I are not helping to increase her humility factor the way we cheer her every antic. We can’t get enough of her, and she knows it, playing us like a favorite tune. Tonight as we sat together in the living room, Skylar began turning in circles, making sure her eyes scanned our three faces and those of her parents as she spun around again and again, knowing she was bringing delight to us as we laughed at her. The world is her stage, and everyone she meets is her audience.
That’s probably why God sent Micah.
If there’s one thing we can be sure of, Skylar is not the center of the universe. That would be God. The fact that all of us used to be one year olds who agreed with Skylar’s point of view is solid evidence for original sin. When we were toddlers and didn’t get our way, tantrums erupted, a talent Skylar has mastered. Although most of us have had quite a few years to move away from such outbursts, sometimes tantrums still take over on the inside.
Enjoying life at center stage is most likely the most serious of all sins. If the world revolves around me, why would I need God? If I’m in the middle, that means God must be on the periphery. Although Skylar and all toddlers are too busy captivating audiences to care about that, I sure should.
As a college student I volunteered briefly with Campus Crusade. We used a pamphlet called “The Four Spiritual Laws” to explain the Gospel to interested people. One of the illustrations in the small booklet showed the “throne” of our lives with “S” for Skylar sitting on it, running the show. (Actually the “S” stands for self.) Everything else in life, according to the drawing, revolved around the decisions that came from the throne, a perfect picture of toddlerhood.
When the self dominates, Jesus is kept at a distance to be sure he doesn’t interfere with the self getting her way.
Thankfully, Micah’s arrival into Skylar’s life (as God’s instrument of change) will be her first opportunity to discover she isn’t at the center after all, an unwelcome bit of truth with which she will struggle mightily. Knowing Skylar, this wrestling match will continue for quite a while. But God knew about her strong will ahead of time and placed her with parents who are spiritually mature beyond their years, ready and eager to teach her the hard stuff. They’ll educate her, coach her, train her and cheer her on as she learns how difficult yet satisfying it is to submit her life to God. Best of all, they’ll model it day after day, year after year. They’ll also have an able assistant in baby brother Micah who will gradually edge his way toward Skylar’s throne/stage/universe.
As for the rest of us, when we see how blatantly Skylar or any other one year old unashamedly puts herself first, we laugh at such selfish presumption. I hope I’m able to laugh at myself the same way if I’m ever tempted to jump onto center stage. Besides, if Skylar and I were up there together, I wouldn’t stand a chance.
”Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)