On Friday I spent sometime with my friend Dennis working on making a mini-documentary/promo video for Kids Club, the hope is that it will raise awareness of the spiritual, physical and tangible needs of our kids and families in the city and how we can meet them through Kids Club, I spent time in the morning talking about how I got here, how my life relates to the lives of the kids, and my heart for ministry. That wasn’t even the best part for me, the best part for me was hearing how my kids and neighbors view my house, what they thought when I was the new white girl on the block, and how they view my life.
As I listened to kids and parents share how Kids Club has changed their lives, I couldn’t help but smile knowing that I really have nothing to do with that, that I am really just here being a servant for Jesus, that ministry is a gift for me, that I am so blessed to be trusted with such an important part of these kids and parents lives. But as one of my kids sat down, and the question was asked, what did you think of Ms. Colleen when she first moved in? His response broke my heart in what felt like a million pieces, “I thought she might be racist…” my heart stopped, thought I might be racist, what in the world could I have possibly done in that moment that they would have thought I was a racist and wouldn’t love them. But he quickly followed it up with, “But then she brought out the chalk and started playing with us and we knew she wasn’t racist.”
I couldn’t shake that thought…and so later that day I questioned his response, what made you think I might be racist? What made you think that I wouldn’t like you because our skin color is different? I didn’t even want to think about what his answer might have been, but when I heard it broke my heart even more… “all the other white people who moved here before you don’t like us, so why would you?” I continued to explain that some people just didn’t have open hearts and open minds to people who are different, and that we shouldn’t base our experiences with one person based on what we have experienced with another. As that phrase came out of my mouth I thought, how often do I base my judgments off of past experiences, or the way someone might look or the opinion that someone else has of that person?
It really hit me hard that as humans we are so judgmental of other people and things whether we intend to be or not…. This was a convicting moment for me but also a moment where I knew I could have a teaching opportunity with my kids, I quickly shared with them how I sometime judge things and people before getting to know about them, but then I also shared that Jesus calls me to love everyone, no matter how different they are than me, and while I might always like a person, I should not judge them by the differences between them and myself, and that while I might not always like themI should always show them the love that Christ shows me.
This discussion prompted them to ask questions, well what about so and so should I love them, what about that boy who tries to kick me all the time should I like them, and it allowed me to ask them questions back, how about the time you stole from the corner store, did Jesus stop loving you? What about the time you told me you hated me did Jesus stop loving you? Nope, He didn’t, He forgave you and loves you just as much as He did before, so that means while people might be mean to us and we might not get along with them, it doesn’t mean we have to hang out with them, but it does mean we have to show them the same kind of love that Christ shows us. I them reminded them of sometimes when I had to do the same, and that I know it’s not always easy, but it pleases God to know that we love as He does.
This made me think about how I’ve been lately and how thankful I am that Jesus doesn’t judge us by our skin color, He doesn’t hold grudges, He loves us always, and He made each of us with a purpose and each of us a little different than the next person.
This conversation allowed me also to share one of my favorite scriptures with the kids about being created special and unique by God, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them, Psalm 136:13-16 (ESV).
Tonight I pray that my sweet kids will learn to love like Jesus that they will not judge by skin color, by differences, but that they will learn to see that we are all created to be unique, special and loved.