Little Timmy was eight years old and both his parents, Joe and Patty, loved him more than life itself. They knew that when he was born, he would be special. They agreed that they would raise him right, take him to church, and would always tell him the truth. They also agreed to try to shield him from as much as they could from all that was going on in the world, at least until he was old enough to understand.
One night, they put him to bed and Timmy fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. A few hours later, Timmy woke his parents up with the most blood curling screams. They rushed to his room and scooped him up into their arms while trying to awaken him from whatever nightmare he may be experiencing. After they were able to calm him down, they asked if he was having a bad dream. He cried, “I was so scared! There were so many bad people all around me and I was trying to kill all of them! There was blood everywhere! It was awful!” Horrified at the thought that their son was dreaming about killing people at such a young age, they asked him why he would have such a dream. Whimpering, he continued. “I heard you talking with others at church about how bad gays, Muslims, immigrants, and others were and that we should get rid of them all. So I was just trying to help make them go away.”
Joe and Patty looked at each other shocked that Timmy would overhear them speaking of such things and that it had impacted him so deeply. They were at a loss as to what to say, so they decided to wait until morning to discuss it further. After a few minutes, Timmy drifted back to sleep.
The next morning, Joe and Patty were surprised to see Timmy in such good spirits and thought maybe he had forgotten his nightmare. Joe asked him how he slept and he replied, “After I fell back to sleep, Jesus came to me and we talked all about my nightmare. He said it made him sad that I heard adults talking such nonsense and that it caused me to have such a bad dream.”
Timmy was encouraged to tell them more. “Jesus told me that it really hurts him when he sees people on earth treating each other so badly. He even had tears in his eyes so I wiped them away with my sleeve. He said that this is not the way he wanted the world to be and had hoped more people would have taken his teachings to heart to love one another. But too many religions became controlled by too many men and they forgot his teachings, as well as the teachings of other spiritual masters of other religions. I told him that I was not allowed to love people of other religions, especially people like Mohammed and Buddha, but Jesus said that even they were his brothers. All of us on earth are brothers and sisters.”
Joe and Patty looked at each other dumbfounded! Hearing Timmy speak the words of Jesus in his dream caused them to stop and think exactly what it was they were teaching their precious son. Were they really teaching him to hate others just because of perceived differences? They hear about so many young people going out and shooting and hurting so many people because of the hate they were taught. Could Timmy someday turn out to be one of those? Were they teaching Timmy to have such a dark view of others and of the world? What kind of life would Timmy have if they continued to teach him to dislike or even hate other people just because they have a different skin color, are from a different race, religion, culture, or have a different sexual preference?
From that moment forward, they decided to really take a hard look at their beliefs. They went back to the Bible and studied the words of Jesus for themselves and found that he didn’t say a lot of the things they were being told he said. Jesus was all about unconditional love for all people. This must be what having a spiritual awakening is like! Awakening to the truth of unconditional love!
They hugged Timmy and promised him that they would work harder at loving people more and accepting them just as they are. Smiling, Timmy exclaimed, “Just like Jesus said we should!”
“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts.” Marianne Williamson
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper December 11, 2015.