I was talking with one of the kids today and asking how they were feeling about school. Because of what I heard when he prayed, I wondered if he was feeling anxious. He said it wasn’t what was in front of him at school that worried him, it was what was behind him that did. He said it was the words spoken behind his back, that made school hard. We talked about what scripture says about things behind us and that was new to him. We talked about ways to stand up for yourself, without firing back with hurtful words that will only keep the exchange going. We talked about what was true. If something is said that does not match the identity God gave you, you let it slide right off.
I was thankful for this conversation because our community witnessed first hand this past week the power of our words. A few kids hurt many and the ramifications are big. I have wondered what it would be like to sit down with these kids and hear their reasoning behind their words. All words have roots, where did these come from? It could be these kids are insecure, not knowing who they were created to be. Immaturity plays apart too I would assume, but seeing a person as less than human has a source.
My prayer is that at this low point, that God will meet these young kids. This is not the end of their story and good will come. I know this full well. And we can all be reminded that our words have the power to speak life or death. Let us all choose life and never for a minute stop seeing people.
*mural by Amy Young Art