I buried my face into the hem of Daddy’s coat, embarrassed, because again he had introduced me as his “favorite child.” I remember the many times my blushed face showed my emotions. I knew I was the only child born to my parents; wasn’t this statement greatly exaggerated–or even a lie? I’m confident that most people came to know the facts, but I still wished he wouldn’t say that. This continued throughout my childhood, at least until I could insist upon his telling the “whole truth.” But why was I so uncomfortable with his statement?
I was into my twenties before I realized how precious this introduction was. Daddy’s perception of me, whether I was the only one or one out of many children, was that I was his “only and favored child.”
“He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.'” Matthew 18:2-4
Inside each one of us is the need to be loved ~ loved individually and unconditionally ~ as if we are the “only child.” We are made to need a father and mother; we need to be lovingly parented. That’s the only way we’re going to become “like little children.” God made us to need this kind of security. He also knows we live in a fallen world, with many parents themselves not being truly parented as He intended. Crippled to varying degrees, they fall short of representing Father’s love as He intended. So He made a way for us all to be perfectly loved, even loved as He loved Jesus. He is no respecter of persons:
“I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them EVEN AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME.” John 17:23
Jesus was His “only child.” So Father loves me [and you] as His “only child.”
As a small child, I felt so overwhelmed by my big daddy telling such a big tale! Yet it prepared me to easily receive the kingdom truth about Father’s love for me. As we humble ourselves and become as a little child, we can receive the immeasurable greatness of His love.
The kingdom of heaven is fully experienced by ‘only children.’