Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far awayWe cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swingJesus, friend of sinners, the truth's become so hard to seeThe world is on their way to You but they're tripping over meAlways looking around but never looking up I'm so double mindedA plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided
Jesus, friend of sinners, the one who's writing in the sandMade the righteous turn away and the stones fall from their handsHelp us to remember we are all the least of theseLet the memory of Your mercy bring Your people to their knees
Nobody knows what we're for only what we're against when we judge the wounded What if we put down our signs crossed over the lines and loved like You didOh Jesus, friend of sinnersOpen our eyes to world at the end of our pointing fingers Let our hearts be led by mercyHelp us reach with open hearts and open doorsOh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours*
This week is Vacation Bible School in our church. Lance and I are helping with the middle school class like we've done the past several years. I really enjoy getting to work with the kids, they've got such great personalities and it's great to spend the time getting to know them on their owns, rather than when they're intermixed with highschoolers.
One thing I've really been blown away by this year though more than any of the others is how intense the "cliques" are and the amount of judging already going on at this age. One of the great things about our church is we have kids here from every walk and class of life. We are given the perfect opportunity to show Christ's love for all people. However, it's so sad to see how early these kids are looking down on others because they aren't wearing the right clothes, don't have enough money, or just aren't "cool" enough. Already this week I have heard one girl say, "oh my gosh, that is the exact same shirt she had on yesterday." And another tell her friend, part of her own group, "what are you wearing, your clothes don't even match."
It is so heartbreaking to hear such harsh judgmental words flying around children at such an influential age. Especially with the girls. So much of our self value, esteem and respect are developed during the middle school years. so much of our self worth is determined based on others opinions of us. Yes I know, it is up to us to decide weather or not we are going to let those comments mold our minds or if we are just going to brush that off. But this is middle school people. That kind of brave wisdom only comes with time and intense encouragement from our parents. The sad thing is a lot of these kids don't have parents there to tell them not to listen to the harsh words, to remind them they are beautifully and wonderfully made, that they are worth it.
What we can do is be that encouragement for them. Love the unlovable, love the broken, love the desperate, love the scared. Just love. It is amazing what a little love can do for someone. Especially love that is basked in Christ. While I hope I would never voice cruel statements, I am guilty of having judgmental thoughts. Of being drawn to people who look like me, the ones who fit in with my lifestyle. I have a dear friend who is also sponsoring this week and she is so good at loving all. She is such an encouragement and reminder to love and helps break my thoughts of judgement.
My heart has really been burdened this week with love. I think about what cruel words have been said to me and how still carry them around five, ten, fifteen years later. I never want that to happen to another. So I'm making a conscience decision to love. The other thing I'm vowing to do is teach this to Brody. As much impact as negative comments can have on young people, positive ones can have so much more. Because remember, "I was that lost cause, I was the out cast. But you died for sinners just like me, a grateful leper at your fight."*
*Lyrics from Casting Crown's "Jesus Friend of Sinners"