But far and above the most revealing aspect of anyone’s character is how he handles people. Friends, I hope you understand this—the way a person handles others is the acid test of his true nature. How is Jesus with people? What’s he like to be around?
One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left. (Matthew 19:13–14 TM)
A simple story, very Sunday school. But we’ve made a precious moment out of it, and thus missed both the reality and the beauty. Our church held a meeting last week, and apparently child care wasn’t available, because the little ones were dashing up and down the halls and, once in a while, in and through the middle of the gathering. Most people tried to put a good face on it, but after several interruptions, you could feel the irritation. The mood shifted from How cute at the first interruption, to That’s enough of that at the third, to, Little nuisance—where are your parents? by romp number five. I indulged in the irritation myself. This is at the core of human nature, this thing in us that growls, Do not mess with my program. Do not get in my way. If you aren’t aware how deep this runs in you, how do you feel when people cut in the line at the market or the movies, cut you off on the highway, make it difficult for you to get your job done, or make it impossible for you to get some sleep? What angers us is almost always some version of You are making my life even harder than it already is. Get out of the way.
Not Jesus. He welcomes intrusion.