As I dragged a cussing, kicking, screaming Katherine out my classroom door this past week, my heart broke. Again. I wanted to stop class and just hold her close, show her that she’s loved so dearly. But I couldn’t. There were 25 other little boys and girls waiting for attention and direction. Even more than that, I knew Katherine wouldn’t accept my words or hugs or love. Not right then. Not with all that hate and hurt boiling over. So I left her outside with Toni and walked back into the room, feeling frustrated and defeated.
A few weeks ago, I watched as Arisleyda tried to reach out to Katherine in line before school. Arisleyda welcomed her to class and tried to hug her tight. But Katherine recoiled like an angry snake, took three steps backwards, and refused to make eye contact with Arisleyda for most of the day.
Why does this smart, independent, beautiful girl so staunchly reject the love of others? Why does she use that sweet mouth to hurl such dirty and hateful words at her teachers and her classmates? Why does she continue to add bricks to the wall of animosity she builds around herself? Why doesn’t she understand that spurning others isn’t the answer for protection and safety?
Katherine’s not the only one rejecting love. There are so many hurting babes in my class this year. Estaylin, Brayan, Carla. The list could go on. They’re all building up their own “hate walls” as quickly as they can stack the bricks. They’re sabotaging themselves from experiencing True Love, and they don’t even realize it.
As a whole, I’ve felt crushed and discouraged this year. How can I possibly love all of them? How can I conceivably be consistent and fair and patient when all they do is lie and fight and curse and steal from each other? I don’t have enough time and energy and strength to handle the issues these five-year-olds are bringing to school.
But then, as He often does, my Jesus gently reminded me of a very important truth. When I actually stopped to listen, that truth resounded so loudly and obviously in mind. And I wondered why I had forgotten yet again to live by it.
The Truth ironically came from the mouths of my precious, rotten little students. Desiree and Arisleyda were repeating the Bible verse before story time. And it hit me like a ton of bricks. Could the most well-known Bible verse in all of history really be the answer to tearing down the walls these children have constructed over the few short years of their lives?
“For God so loved that world that He gave His one and only Son…”
Duh. Of course I don’t have enough time and energy and strength and patience to love these kids perfectly. God first loved them. Not me. He sent His only begotten Son to die. Not me! His precious blood paid the price, and His perfect love is the only gift that can tear down the walls.
This simple truth seems to be the theme of so many of my posts. Christ is the answer. It sounds so cliché. But He’s the answer for the sin problem that controls the lives of these children and their parents. He’s the answer for me when I feel like I can’t go on another day dealing with the ungratefulness and whining and selfishness I see in my students. He is the answer.
So, for this moment, I’m going to rest in the truth. I’ll do my best this week to “take every thought captive”, to share Christ’s perfect love with my broken sweethearts, and to rely wholly on Him for strength in the middle of the storm.
Here’s to another week of watching Him tear down the bricks.