What the word “mine” taught me about children and sin

I love the way a newborn smells. There is nothing more precious and innocent than a helpless baby in need of a mother’s care. I love their sweet breath, and their bobbing heads against the proud mama or papa rocking them to sleep. How could anything so remarkable, so incredible, be sinful?

I struggled with this Christian precept until my children turned two. It was then that I knew that there was such thing as original sin because one of the first words that came out of their mouths (all three children) was the word, “Mine!” I write this with a smile on my face and hoping you catch the humor of this story, but the truth is: I didn’t teach my children this. Selfish behavior was just in them. I had to teach them to share. I had to pray for their chubby hands not to hit another child. And I was so thankful for their chubby feet when their actions threatened to make me angrier than I wanted to be. Those fat toes helped me count to ten and respond rather than react to their misdemeanors.

I’m sure my grandchildren will be the same way, and my great-grandchildren, and their children. I’m also sure your children tested you when they were two. It’s human nature. It is part of who we are: sinful, selfish, sneaky, prideful, disobedient yet completely capable of the capacity to love and be loved. But though we are sinful even at birth, Christ died for all of us so we can be holy. We are born with both the capacity to sin and the opportunity to be changed by Divine Love.

There is no doubt in my mind that a baby or child goes straight to heaven if they die. Our God is good. He is loving, and He loves our children more than we do. But I do believe we are born with a sinful nature or the capacity to sin.

There was one baby however that was born without a sinful nature. This baby was not only human but God. His birth changed the world and the problem with sin. This baby grew up to die for us and rise again, and this is why there is hope for us all. Though the human race inherited a sinful nature, we don’t have to stay that way.

“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass (the sin of Adam) was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness (Jesus’ sacrifice) was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18,19).

One Response to “What the word “mine” taught me about children and sin”

  1. Sandra Chambers

    Thanks Andy for this reminder that we are all like 2-year olds without the miracle of Christmas transforming our lives!


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