Yesterday I helped teach children’s church, because the children’s minister is out sick. Before we went to our big group, I had the class of 3rd to 5th graders.
I’m not very familiar with a lot of the kids, but it was obvious, when their grandfather didn’t know how to sign them in, this was the first time these two kids had visited our church.
For one thing, it’s never a good sign when grandparents are raising their grandchildren, which unfortunately is an epidemic. The kids, an older sister with her younger brother, were both shy. You could tell the boy really wanted to make an impression, because he’d put on his Sunday best! He had on a suit and tie, which unbeknownst to him, is a rarity at our church.
The lesson was on not being greedy. We had them make a “not greedy” calendar. For each day of the week, they were to write down a way they would not be greedy. Such as, sharing dessert with your sister, or sharing a game. It was really hard to come up with non-greedy things, so I started making suggestions like, not being greedy with your time. For example, spend time with your siblings, don’t punch your brother, help with chores.
The new boy sat very quietly, not writing anything. I was trying to help him think of things when one of the other boys suggested not getting suspended. I thought that was funny, until I realized where he was going.
He went around the table asking each of the boys if they’d ever been suspended from school. They all answered no except for the quiet new boy. Finally, the other boy blurted out that the new boy had been suspended from school for bringing matches to school.
It was obvious the boy was embarrassed. Just from observing the family, I’m sure there were other issues this kid was dealing with. My heart was breaking for him. I’ve had that feeling before, as a child, that I was the “bad” kid, it’s horrible. Not wanting the boy to feel isolated, I began to tell them how I had gotten in lots of trouble as a kid, and that I had almost been suspended once too. Of course they wanted to know why. I gave them the watered down version, (There’s a blog about it somewhere) about how when I was in school there was no such thing as texting and we actually had to write notes and pass them, and that my note (that someone turned in to the principle) said some pretty bad things about the principal. I’m not proud of that mind you, but when I looked that boy in the eyes, he smiled.
Being able to share my experience stopped those boys from making the new boy feel bad. It helped him feel like he wasn’t the only person in the world to have ever gotten into trouble or to have made a mistake.
Often times when we screw up, it feels like we’re the only person in the world who’s ever screwed up. Especially if your peers know, and are constantly yapping about it. Most of the time, those who do the most talking are the ones who just haven’t been caught.
I sort of expect kids to do things like that to each other, they’re learning life lessons as they go along. The sad thing is, when we as adults do it to each other. We see someone making a mistake, and we’re too busy talking about them to help. Looking into the eyes of the new boy, reminded me of what I’ve known for a long time; pointing out others mistakes, to make ourselves feel better, doesn’t help anyone.
Now, I love me some juicy gossip, much like most women, and some men! But let’s try and be people who build each other up, not tear down. Let’s be people who aren’t afraid to share our mistakes so others don’t feel so alone in theirs. Let’s be people who aren’t afraid to lovingly correct our brothers and sisters when we see them headed down the wrong path. Let’s be doers, and not just hearers.
But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 2 Timothy2:16
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19
Brothers and sisters, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1