A few nights ago I was tucking in Amos after a hard day at our house. These tuck ins are my favorite, because there is a rawness about a child when they have made so many bad choices that they have no where else to turn, and they eventually break and share what they have wanted to say all along. I could see in his eyes that he had something that his voice wanted to say, but his mind didn’t quite no what to make of it.
I kissed him on his forehead, because in these moments he’s not in the mood to kiss me on the lips. I lingered knowing his feelings were right on the edge of the fountain about to spew all over the place and I wanted to be there to feel them and help him sort them, and mop them up if need be.
Finally he spoke.
“I’m not like you.”
I wasn’t sure where this was going, so I sat in silence and waited for the next overflow.
“My heart’s different than yours.”
I was no even more unclear, so I waited.
Then the tears.
“My heart’s not like anyones in this family. I make bad choices and have a bad heart. I don’t belong here.”
Oh my precious baby felt all alone with his bad heart. He felt like he was sticking out like a sore thumb not because he’s black and I’m white, and not because he’s 8 and I’m 35, but because he was convinced that his heart is not the same as ours.
I got as close to him as he would allow and I told him that what he said was not right. I told him that if you cut all of our bodies open that all of our hearts look exactly the same. We’re really all the same on the inside.
Of course he told me that’s not what he was talking about, as if I didn’t know that.
I then proceeded to tell him that all of our hearts are bad. We are born with a heart that only knows to make bad choices. Even mommy’s heart wants to make bad choices sometimes. A lot. I told him about my bad choices earlier in the day when I was frustrated with something and had jealousy in my bad heart.
I told him that even daddy has a heart that wants to make bad choices when it should make right choices. All of our hearts are the same I told him.
BUT there’s one person that can change our hearts, and that’s Jesus. Right there in the bottom bunk I was able to once again share Jesus with my son. I got to tell him that we can’t help our bad hearts, they always want to do bad, but that Jesus is the only one that can change our hearts. In fact he can give us a new heart that wants to do good and wants to please God.
Amos was quiet and listening to me talk about Jesus changing our bad hearts into hearts that love him and desire him more. I am not sure if he fully understood it all, but I do know this, that he knew afterwards that he does fit in this family, because in this family we’re all screwed up with bad hearts. We’re all in need of a Savior to daily change our hearts to desire him. All of us have the same hearts with the same needs.
We’re all in this together. Bad hearts and all.
Ezekiel 36: 26-27 “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”