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Posts Tagged ‘John 1:10-12, children of God, receiving Jesus, believing in Jesus, Maxine, two-year-old behaviour, four-year-old behaviour, electricity providers, door to door salesmen, credit card scams, credit car’

Jo 17It’s a fascinating word, don’t you think, this little word ‘not’? It can hold such power at times. It can defend a position. It can encourage and support. It can settle an argument. It can dash hopes and sound so final.

Currently, our two-year-old granddaughter uses it often. Recently, I overheard the following conversation between her four-year-old brother and her:

‘You’re crazy, Maxine!’

‘I not crazy!’

‘Yes, you are—you’re so crazy!’

‘I not crazy!’ (spoken with considerable vehemence)

I doubt Maxine would understand what ‘crazy’ even means, yet she definitely did not like the sound of it, just as she does not like being called ‘silly’ or ‘funny’ or sometimes even ‘pretty’.

Then there was the recent instance when she kept on crying.

‘That’s enough!’ her mum told her.

First thing the next morning, Maxine came out with the following:

‘Mummy, when I cry, it not enough!’

Did she think ‘enough’ meant something like ‘silly’ or ‘crazy’?  Whatever the case, she obviously still wanted her ‘not’ to be heard—even the next morning.

Sometimes, like Maxine, I find myself determined not to listen to someone on principle. I might not like them, for some reason. I might not appreciate what they stand for. I am too busy. I don’t want to have to change my mind about something. And sometimes, I am right to do this. I do not want to change my electricity provider, for example, simply because someone at my front door says I should. Nor do I want to give my credit card details to some interesting person on the phone. In those instances, the word ‘not’ can be a wise safeguard.

But sometimes by deciding not to listen, I might well close my ears to something I need to hear. Like Maxine, in my determination to be right, I might miss out on those wise and loving things someone is trying to share with me. In my arrogance and self-righteousness, I might reject a challenge that could be life-changing. And my decision to employ that little word ‘not’ could even bring disaster.

This to me is what is so sad about some words I read recently in John’s Gospel:

He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. John 1:10-11

Wow! Just two flat little statements of fact containing that little word ‘not’, but how final they sound. And what huge repercussions were unleashed as a result. These verses send shivers through me.

But then I wonder how many times each day I myself refuse Jesus and say ‘I will not’ to him. I will not honour you, Lord, by apologising to this person or reaching out in love to that person or changing my attitude. I will not listen, as you whisper words of comfort to me. Instead, I will rely on myself and go my own way.

And yet you remind me that you love me, that I am your child. And once again, I return to you, so grateful that I belong in your family.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God … John 1:12

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