The Child Who Had No Manners (and She Was Dirty, Too) - Page 18

What if a child came to your church and you knew the child’s mother was a single woman who worked in a bar? What if you knew that mother had been married multiple times and had not used good judgment on any of the marriages? What if the child was not well-dressed or very clean, had no manners and was loud and disruptive? What if you knew the mother only took the child to church so she could have some time off, and the child seemed to want to cause trouble just to get attention?

How would you act toward that child? Would you be kind? Would you treat that child so special, she’d beg to be able to come back? Would you make that child feel as important as another kid with the nice clothes from a solid home, who was clean and used manners and smelled wonderful? Would you use the extra patience it would take to get to the heart of the problem with that child? Would you love her so she could understand what it meant when the Bible said, "He quiets us with his love"?

I’m asking that because years ago, I was that dirty child from the broken home. I was the child that caused everyone to shake their heads when my mom dropped me off at the local church on Sundays and Wednesdays. I was the child with no manners. I was the child you would have voted most likely to fail.

But in the church where my mom dropped me off, I discovered a nurturing group of people who seemed to think I was worth something. Sunday school teachers who went the second mile for me when I had no way of paying them for the first. And church people who told me stories about characters in the Bible who seemed to have it worse than me.

First, there was this guy, Joseph, who was dropped in a well by his brothers. This other guy, David, was hiding from a crazy king who wanted to kill him. And there was this girl, Rahab, who had been known to work in a job that wasn’t respected, yet who ended up being mentioned as one of the most faithful people in the Bible. Another girl, Esther, whose parents were no where around, was selected to accomplish a mission that saved the lives of all God’s people.

In Sunday school lessons, I learned of a God who could use anybody or anything committed to him. A God who could take something awful and completely change it so you’d never recognize it for what it used to be.

And I learned from the way my teachers treated me that God’s view of things was different from the world’s. That God saw everyone as having been at one time on the "wrong side of the tracks," and what was important was not where we’d been but where we were headed.

The little church I went to as a child had people in it who seemed to feel if they acted out God’s love toward a small, dirty child from broken home, it could make a difference.

And it has.


From the book 101 SIMPLE LESSONS FOR LIFE - WATERBROOK PRESS - ISBN number 1-57856-697-5

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