“Don’t laugh at me… don’t call me names… don’t get your pleasure from my pain. IN GOD’S EYES, we’re all the same…. some day we’ll all have perfect wings… Don’t laugh at me.”
I was listening to this song by Mark Wills yesterday, planning on giving it to a friend to play for her students. Instead, I ended up having to play it for one of my own children today. One of my own sweet kiddos had been unkind to another child at school, and I had to deal with it and make my child understand why this was not ok. Why is it that children sometimes want to hurt others? And how, as a mom, do you convey to your children the preciousness of others in God’s sight? Believe me, I did my best, and in the end, many tears were shed… tears of hurt, embarrassment, and remorse from a broken little heart, when the reality of what had happened sunk in, and the true heart-hurt that had been caused struck a chord.
We’ve all either been there or seen it happening… the girl or boy in class that everyone seems to exclude from everything. The one chosen by the group to be the constant target of humiliation. The kid on the playground who’s always chosen last for teams, and then everyone groans when they are “stuck with” him or her. The one girl or boy who nobody wants to sit with at lunch… Oh, how this one hurts my heart.
And how many of us, as parents, have dealt with our children – are literally shocked and dismayed – when we learn that one of our own flesh-and-blood has been on the giving end of this kind of behavior? What are we to do? We can begin by instilling in them a realization of the PRECIOUSNESS of each and every one of God’s human creation. It is essential to help them understand – somehow drive home to them – how very precious each and every boy and girl is to Him, and how, when we hurt another child, we are hurting the heart of God himself.
The word “precious” literally means “of great value; not to be wasted or treated carelessly.” I really had to stop and examine myself today. How am I, as a parent, modeling treatment of others? Do I treat every person I come in contact with as “precious”? Do my children see me treating others as if they are of great value? Do I treat others with care? Or am I careless in what I say to those around me? Do I notice others… do others feel as if their thoughts, opinions, or even just who they are as a person are of great value to me?
Here is another more difficult question… if the Spirit of God lives in me, and my heart is beating as His, will I not feel and behave this way as a rule? AND, if I am NOT behaving carefully toward others… if others do not feel valued by me, or if they feel as if they have little worth in my presence, should I not examine my relationship with God and question whether or not I am allowing Him to rule my heart?
My heart aches as I think of things I have said and done in moments of carelessness that have hurt and wounded the hearts of others who are precious to God. My words to my child today were this, “Who do you think you are, that you somehow have the right to judge another person as not being as good as you are? Who are you, that somehow, you can tell another person that ‘who God made you is not good enough’??” Indeed, who are we? We are the creation. And in our carelessness and thoughtlessness, and yes, sometimes even in our intentions, we wound the hearts of others and, in turn, break the heart of our Creator.
I am convinced that, when I am so broken that I cry, my Father cries with me. When that young girl walks away from that group of girls who won’t include her with a heavy heart, her Father’s heart is heavy too, and it aches with her hurt and rejection. When that tween-ager who likes to read and isn’t overly witty or good with come-backs is subjected to humiliation by “the cool kids,” God sees, and He feels his hurt, and He longs for him to know that he is of great value – that he is precious.
“You don’t have to be my friend… but is it too much to ask…. don’t laugh at me…” As parents, we need to be so careful in what we model for our children. If you don’t want to be someone’s friend, then at the very least, don’t laugh at them. Don’t joke about them behind their backs. Don’t roll your eyes when they walk by. Don’t make sideways comments or “inside” jokes or give “knowing looks” to others when they aren’t looking. When we do these things, no matter how small or harmless they seem, we are devaluing that person to others, to ourselves, and to our children who are always watching us. And we are grieving God’s heart. A “cute” joke at the expense of someone else is never funny to God. It tears down and does not build up. It cuts at the very heart of Who God is, and it sends one of two messages: 1) I don’t like myself, so I need to tear you down, or 2) God didn’t do a very good job when He made you, but look at what a great job He did with me!
“Oh be careful little eyes what you see…” Children don’t have to be taught to be cruel – they are born in sin, with a selfish nature, and it is our job to lead them to the only One Who can redeem their souls and give them a new nature. It is equally as true that my children repeat my behavior in many ways; therefore, they will follow my lead in how they value and treat others. What are my children seeing in me? I pray I will be a good example for them to follow, that I will view each and every person I come in contact with as precious to God – of great value and worth – and that my children will see me handling others with care, as one would a great treasure – a treasure that was worth the life of God’s Son. “For God so loved [and valued EVERY PERSON IN]* THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes on Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16