My sister was two, my mom was painting the trim in the living room, we had hardwood floors.
Oh yes she did!
Haven't you always wanted to walk barefooted on a hardwood floor after you just stepped in a gallon of fresh white paint? I have! And...my sister Stephanie did! How do you think my mom felt when she walked into the living and found a perfect path of white little feet meandering around the house? Furious, frustrated, or leaping for joy?
If you were my mom, what would you do with your two year old daughter: Lock her in the closet, make her sleep under the stairs like Harry Potter, or reward her with a lifetime supply of chocolate?
I think the more significant question is this: Was my sister's paint walk done out of a rebellious heart or was it caused by the normal curiosity and rambunctiousness that is part of a two year old's playful mind? How you answer that really matters. If you think it is rebelliousness, which sadly some parents would, then it needs to be immediately and sternly punished. I have heard of parents spanking children for some of the most innocent acts like picking a daisy out of the garden or sticking their finger in a bowl of freshly stirred pancake batter.
If you realize curiosity and rambunctiousness is how God hardwired two year olds, then a good mom should realize that and not freak out in uncontrollable rage when they see the trail of white that is left behind by two little feet. If they only could see past the mess and look at how cute their two year old's feet are in white paint, they may even be able to flash a smile. An open bucket of white paint with no adults around is like waving a piece of cheese in front of a hungry mouse - - you can't expect them to do anything different.
So mom, lighten up!
A young man has tattoos, he hasn't been to church in years, he sits in the back pew, the preacher takes to his pulpit with a look of stern certainty and fire.
Oh yes he did!
If you were a preacher, wouldn't you want to let the tattooed rebel have it? Don't you think it would feel good to just let the full barreled gospel with all of its wrath and burning coals come thundering down off the pulpit like thunder off a mountain? How else is a pastor supposed to feel when young men and women are dressing like slobs, getting tattoos, and running with their mischievous friends on the streets?
If you were a pastor or a church leader, what would you do with nasty rotten sinners: Kick them out on the street, make them cut their hair and wear dresses and ties before they come back in, or reward them with a lifetime supply of eternal grace?
I think the more significant question is this: Was the young man getting tattoos to make the pastor and God mad out of a rebellious heart, or was it because before anyone meets Christ they live in the normal brokenness and blindness that has affected us all? How you answer that really matters. If you think it is rebelliousness to wear tattoos, jeans, and adopt the cultural trends and tastes around you, which sadly many church people and pastors do, then it needs to be condemned and denounced with blazing rhetoric from the pulpit. I have heard of pastors calling out people for some of the most innocent acts like wearing shorts in church, drinking a beer with a friend, watching a movie with their non-Christian friend, and even getting a tattoo.
If you realize that living by cultural trends and joining in with the current culture is how broken and blind people normally act outside of Christ, then a good Christian should know this and not freak out in judgmental anger when they see a person acting like a normal person. If they only could see past the mess and look at how that person is loved by God and can be used by God, they may even be able to talk to them and eventually like them! A world offering carnal delights with friends and the media encouraging personal indulgence and hedonism are to be expected.
So pastors and people of God, lighten up!
Start loving people where they are at.