It is the third day of Lent, and a good time to reflect on this particular passage from 1 Corinthians. What, exactly, does it mean to put away childish things? Am I to put away my laughter, my joy, my sense of wonder at the world? Not at all. Saint Paul didn't say to put away being child-like. He said to put away being childish. There's a difference.
The childish things, like being selfish and self-serving and self-centered. Childish things, like insisting on having my way all the time, crying or getting angry when I don't get what I want, pouting when I'm chastised, lying when I've done something I know is wrong, hiding when I feel guilty. Childish things, like always needing to be first, always wanting to get the most, always wanting what others have and never being satisfied with what I've already been given.
Childish things, like failing to say thank you when someone does something for me, or failing to say please when I want something. Childish things, like failing to clean up my messes or pick up after myself. Childish things, like expecting others to do for me what I'm capable of doing myself, or demanding to be served first when others have greater need. Childish things, like playing when I should be working or failing to honor the commitments I've made.
Childish things, like letting go of my Father's hand and dashing out into the dangerous world ahead of Him. Childish things, like refusing to listen because I don't want to hear what's being said. Childish things, like failing to admit that I need help because I don't want to admit I need Him. Childish things, like insisting I know what I'm doing when I don't have a clue. Childish things, like refusing to apologize when I know I’m wrong.
So this Lent, let me follow the example of St. Paul. Let me put away childish things and accept responsibility for my choices, even those I am not proud of making. Let me learn to humble myself enough to admit that I need help and that I am not strong enough to do everything on my own. Let me pause to be sure that I keep a firm grasp on His hands so that I do not get myself hurt or in danger.
Let me honor my commitments, do my work before I play, take care of myself to the very best of my ability, clean up after myself, and always remember to say please and thank you. Let me be content with what I have, rejoice when others receive good things without demanding those things for myself, allow others to go first, listen more than I speak, admit when I've done something wrong, and accept chastisement with a grateful heart for the love of a Father who wants others to see the best in me. Let me be patient and accepting when things don’t go as I planned, certain that God will work even this to my good. Let me be all that the Father would have me be this Lent, and let it be enough.