Last night I was helping with Vacation Bible School. In the gym, where we were busy with kick-ball and games with a colored parachute, with relay races and general kid mayhem, I took a minute to watch the faces of the children.

Occasionally, someone would walk through and see their own child, and hug them close while parent and child smiled.  I did the same with my own four, touching and talking with each in turn when they came through the great, echoing gymnasium, either as participants or (in the case of my oldest) as a teaching assistant.

We parents are wonderfully biased.  We see, in each little face of our own, such beauty.  We dream of their happiness and greatness.  We love tucking them in bed each night.  We live for vacations, and other times of intimate family connection.  We know their laugh, their smile, their frown, their tears.  We know the scars on their arms and faces, the missing teeth, the words they can’t quite say, the things that give them joy, and the things they fear above all.  When we say ‘that’s my child,’ we’re making much more than a biological commentary.  We’re saying, ‘I know that one!  I love that one!’

So it is with every human being; God sees us as children, in need of a father.  In every drug addict is long-lost laughter; in every prostitute a desperate child needing affection.  In every dying antiquarian is a frightened son or daughter; in every wounded teen a dream of greatness and hope.  Just as I looked at the smiles on the faces of children and parents, I saw the smile on the face of our Creator, who loves and desires each one.

That’s a lesson for the ER, my friends.  Every nut-job, every crazy, every drunk or abuser, every liar, every thief trying to dismantle and steal an entire ventilator; every condescending doctor, every abrasive family member, every one of us, every one of them; loved by God the Father, who wants them for his own.

We call them names, we despise them, we disdain them at our own peril.

Someone sees them for the children they were, the children they remain, and the wonders of love and beauty they might yet be.

So we must be careful to look over and over, patiently and prayerfully, when we are assessing the worth or quality of any human being.  Their Father is watching and listening.


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