Jesus said His followers need to be like little children (Matt. 18:3; 19:14).
Here is the problem: By the time we have reached adulthood, that child-like trust, transparency, and sense of awe so vital to our spiritual growth and relationships with one another has been replaced with walls.
Walls That Block Out Unwanted Feelings:
How quickly we learn that life doesn’t always go our way, that it sometimes includes suffering. Bad things do happen to good people. And, it doesn’t feel good. We try to block out the negative reactions these events can cause, repressing our feelings. Why? Perhaps we have learned along the way that big boys don’t cry, that we shouldn’t be a wimp. We may have gotten pegged as not having enough faith. If we don’t feel, then we won’t react. If we don’t react, we won’t have to be uncomfortable around others. We’ve learned to mask our feelings so well that sometimes we aren’t even honest with ourselves about how we feel about both the good and bad of life.
Result: We lose that child-like awe and wonder.
Walls That Keep a Distance Between Us and Other People:
Too often, as children, we are hurt by the very people who we most look to for care, understanding, attention, and love … parents, family, teachers, best friends. Perhaps we were neglected, abused, rejected, or betrayed. We feel like we’ve been let down. Relational hurts, especially those experienced early in life, can cause us to say, “Never again.” We try to prevent the same thing from reoccurring.
Result: We no longer have that child-like trust.
Walls That Hide Who We Really Are:
We didn’t make the grade, get the part, or win the competition. We felt the shame of disappointing our parents or teachers. We were put down one too many times. Soon we don’t even like ourselves. We begin to play the part, saying and doing what we feel people expect of us. We don’t want others to see our weaknesses or failures so we begin to make excuses or blame someone or something else.
Result: We no longer have that child-like transparency.
Walls That Keep Us From Growing Spiritually:
If you are a teacher of an adult Bible class, you soon realize that these same walls also keep truth and growth opportunities from getting in. Consequently, part of our task as teachers of adults is breaking walls down.
The Breaking Walls Down Training Session for Teachers of Adult Bible Classes gives nine different tools you can use to chisel away at those walls.