My 5 year old son recently asked about baptism. He was mostly interested in the mechanics of it – the actual event- because he has heard talk of it, but has no memory of seeing someone baptized. Conveniently, we were kayaking at the time of his inquiry, so I offered to demonstrate in the water.
While it seemed like a great idea at the time, hindsight offers a different view.
After the demonstration and thorough explanation in 5 year old terms, he wanted to play “baptism” whenever we were in the water. And so, he and his sister took turns at this symbolic act of washing away their sins. Unfortunately, one dunking wasn’t enough. They were apparently filthy sinners and eager to help cleanse the other. And the inevitable happened… It got out of hand. They nearly drowned one another.
I was forced to intervene loudly from the beach, ” No more baptizing allowed!”. Ok, so I didn’t really yell it because I thought it might be bad PR for God and I didn’t want to create an odd little scene. But, I did intervene (while trying to contain my laughter).
And, as I reflected on their innocent play, I began to think about how it mirrored real life. How often are we quick to recognize the sins of others and offer our help in cleansing them with our drowning judgement…or criticism… or silent treatment…? We feel justified in our righteous thinking when really we are revealing our own heart issues. God ultimately sees our heart condition and true cleansing comes only from Him. May we seek Him in all things because we all need His mercy and saving grace.
And, if you happen to be around water sometime this week, offer to let someone dunk you. Repeatedly and ruthlessly. It will serve as a great reminder when tempted to think that someone else needs our help fixing their sin. Let’s focus on our own junk and let God take care of the rest.