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Childhood (by Tim Klink of Prison Discipleship Ministry)

1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

Childhood can be a very wonderful time in a person’s life, but it also be a time of abuse and neglect. I was so blessed in my childhood to have parents who loved me and my sister, and showed it in many ways. We were taught many things that would be the foundation that we would later build upon in life. We enjoyed our childhood years because of the love our parents had for us as well as for each other.

I often look back on those times when I am in a difficult time, or when life just seems to be overwhelming. I envy those times of having very little responsibility aside from our daily chores. Those days were a time of learning things from our parents and grandparents that were exciting. My dad showed me how to mow the grass, and how to wash the car. I was so excited to be able to do grown-up stuff. Today, I still enjoy those things even though I find very little time for them.

In those days my thoughts, as well as my understanding, were as a child, but as I grew and matured, my thinking has changed. I now look at things from a different perspective since I now know more of God's Word and how it affects my life. In my work with those who are incarcerated, I often find that many have held onto things from their childhood, instead of putting them away and moving on. Many have been hurt terribly by abusive parents or family members, and they are still dwelling on it, often to the point of allowing it to define who they are today. Many have developed habits in their childhood that have not been put away, which still cause them to think in childish ways.

God has given each one of us a time of growing and developing, called childhood, when cares and responsibilities are small. But as we grow in God's Word, the thoughts and actions of our childhood must be put away. How we interact with others must be governed by God's Word. Childhood can be great, but we must not stay there.

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