by Dr. Calvin Metcalf
Underneath our tough and successful adult exterior there continues to beat the heart of a child. This child which we once were has blended into the pattern of our maturity and still reaches out for love, acceptance, and attention. Even though we may have put away some childish things, the inner child of our past is a present reality. Those inferiorities and fears of childhood days continue to influence our adult behavior. Those lessons learned and truths accepted as a child form the basis of our moral and ethical judgments today. The commitments made and the faith expressed as a child give stability and strength to our adult character. Likewise the hurts and problems of childhood and adolescence have a lingering effect upon our personalities. We are the product of all that has transpired since the beginning days of our lives.
We cannot fully escape the influences of our early years. We do not shed our childhood skin and suddenly become an adult. We cannot borrow from another’s past. For better or for worse we live in the context of our own personal history. Sometimes this requires emotional and spiritual adjustments.
Here again the grace of God is our greatest ally as we trust Him for guidance toward maturity. He can take the formative influences of our lives and mold them into a growing faith. Jesus called it “rebirth” and it means, when necessary, we can escape what time has done to us. It is possible, in Christ, for the inner child of the past to have a positive effect upon our adult happiness. Being “born again” gives us a place to start over as we put the past episodes of our lives into the context of healing grace. The child which we once were can blend into the adult which we now are.
No doubt in the eyes of our heavenly Father we are always children at some stage of mental and spiritual development. Could it be that His basic word to us is that we suffer the child which we are to come unto Him, for of such is the kingdom of heaven? After all, it is as a child we come, no matter what our age.