I have four grandchildren. One granddaughter is through my son, Danny, who lives in California (and is expecting another baby), and I have one granddaughter and two grandsons through my daughter, Christine, who lives in Houston.
All grandchildren are dear to me, but Ellie is special simply because she was my first grandchild. She also does things to make herself special to me. When I come back from a long trip, she embraces me with her short arms and says, “I missed you, Grandpa.” When we eat together, she says, “I want to sit next to Grandpa.” She says things that make a grandparent’s heart melt.
Since her mom got her a children’s Bible, Ellie and I have been able to share some theological thoughts. The other day I asked her, “Why did the people want to make Saul their king?”
Ellie replied, “They wanted a king they could see.”
“What did God want?”
“God wanted to be their king himself.”
“What happened to King Saul?”
“He disobeyed Jesus.” (She is such a firm believer in the Trinity that she uses the terms God and Jesus interchangeably!)
“So, what did God do?”
“He made a little boy, David, the king.”
What a perfect understanding of theology!
But behind her innocent exterior, I’ve seen a lurking desire to break the law. After I told her not to touch the TV screen, she stealthily approached our TV set and tried to touch it. When I caught her in the act, she answered with an innocent smile, “I put my hand close to it but I wasn’t touching it.”
When I came home last Monday, my wife told me that when Christine visited with her three kids, Ellie had pouted and cried. It started when Ellie misbehaved and her mom told her to go to the corner for “time out”. It usually ends when she promises to change her behavior. But recently, Ellie hadn’t been changing her behavior like she promised. So this time, her mom made her sit even after she said she would change her behavior. So Ellie cried and cried, saying her mom was being unfair.
Eventually, Ellie and her mom made a truce. Afterwards, Christine asked Ellie to apologize to Grandma for making such a fuss. Apparently, the request hurt Ellie’s pride, and she pouted and cried again. It’s amazing that a little child like Ellie has such pride. The Apostle Paul was absolutely right when he said that everyone is a sinner; no one is righteous.
When my wife told me this, I agreed with Christine that Ellie behaved badly and deserved punishment. But I couldn’t help but smile while listening to the story because even her rebellion seems cute to me. I think I now know what it means that God hates sin but loves sinners. I hate Ellie’s disobedience but I still love Ellie!
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