We all know “that kid” that we work with in our class or on our bus route – the one that brings negative thoughts to our mind just at the sound of their name.
Who is “that kid”?
- It might be “that kid” who intentionally acts up in class and is disruptive.
- It might be “that kid” who looks you in the eye and does exactly what you tell them not to do.
- It might be “that kid” who just gets under your skin because they seem to have no respect or self-control.
Okay, so now you’ve got a mental picture of who “that kid” is that we’re talking about.
- Have you ever found yourself frustrated with “that kid”?
- Have you ever seen “that kid” enter your classroom on a Sunday morning, and thought to yourself, “Oh, no, why did they have to come today?”
- Have you ever been guilty of being too harsh and lacking in patience and understanding of “that kid”?
I think if we’re all honest with ourselves, we’ve probably been guilty more times than we’d like to admit. I know that I am. All we can see in our limited understanding is “that bad kid.”
How does God see “that kid”?
But… what if we began to see “that bad kid” through a different set of eyes – maybe even the eyes of God Himself? I think we might be surprised at what we’d see.
“That kid” who’s always bad in our eyes is actually “that kid” that Jesus was talking about in Mark 10:14 when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God.”
“That kid” is who Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 18:14 when He said, “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”
“That kid” is included in 2 Peter 3:9 that says “The Lord is… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Sometimes it’s difficult to see beyond the misbehavior and disrespect. Sometimes it’s quite easy for that to be the only thing that we see at all. But there’s much more to “that kid” than simply meets the eye.
What if we put on God’s eyes for a moment?… Here’s what I think we might see:
- “That kid” who needs a lot of love and grace in their life.
- “That kid” who’s deeply hurting on the inside and doesn’t know how to express it.
- “That kid” who’s angry about life and as a result naturally lashes out in anger.
- “That kid” who’s starving for attention and finds that misbehavior gets them that attention.
- “That kid” who really may just need a positive male influence in his or her life.
While all we can sometimes see on the surface is “that bad kid” who seems to be our problem, Jesus sees “that kid” whose condition is the product of an ugly divorce, “that kid” whose family life is nothing short of disastrous, “that kid” who’s been through things in life that are unthinkable, “that kid” who desperately needs to be saved and experience new life in Christ. Yet “that kid” probably won’t ever respond to the love of Christ and the gospel if they don’t actually see it first demonstrated through us.
Who will reach “that kid”?
On a weekly basis in our church, we bring in a good number of “that kid” on our buses. They seem to be the ones that never miss. They sometimes try our patience. They always grow our faith. And they are a privilege to be able to reach.
I have a feeling that there may be many of “that kid” in Heaven some day, because someone chose to look past the rough exterior and made the decision to love the inner person far beneath it all. I know that for our church, the boy who rode the buses years ago and was once “that kid” is now our Pastor.
How sad that many of “that kid” who need to hear the gospel the most will sometimes be cast aside as unreachable.
Jesus said in Luke 5:32 “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
That’s a good reminder, because we’re called to do the exact same thing. Take the time this week to pray for “that kid”. Take the time to get to know their story. Take the time to personally show them the love of Christ through you.
Whoever’s face we had in mind, may we change our perception of that child from “that bad kid” to “that kid” that Jesus loves and wants to save. And may it become our desire to love them and see them saved as well, because chances are, we might very well be the ONLY person that can or will ever reach them.