“Nobody likes me anymore,” my son shared as he stared at the bubbles in his bath. “I’m sure that’s not true,” I corrected him, “Why do you say that?” He proceeded to tell me how one boy calls his name every morning when he gets in class. When Colin answers him, this boy responds with idiot, shut up, dork, loser, or any other mean thing he can say.
“Then there is this other boy who drew my picture with poop on my head. The principal got really mad and said he would be in big trouble,” my first-born told me. I stood by the tub and listened to story after story of kids who had been mean to my eight-year-old. Colin doesn’t complain often, and I wondered how long this had been going on.
He spoke while I fought. Fought back tears. Fought back ugly retorts. Fought back the Mama-bear instinct to kill. How could kids be so mean? I wanted to snatch the brown-eyed boy out of that tub and squeeze him as much as I wanted to snatch the eyeballs out of those bullies’ heads.
“Colin,” I started slowly, choosing my words carefully, “you should be kind to everyone like the Bible tells us. But you don’t have to honor everyone with your friendship. You can be kind without being friends with those mean people.”
“But I like to be friends with everybody,” he swirled a Lego man around in circles as he talked.
“Well, you don’t really need to be. Those people are mean!” I could feel my skin prickle as I got upset.
“But Mama, I want to be just like Jesus. And when those people were so mean to Jesus by poking him with the sword and whipping him when he went on the cross, He just said, ‘Forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing.’ So I’m just going to do that, too.”
I was speechless. When had the student become the teacher?
I left the room and wept. I wept with pride for my first-born child with the heart of gold. I wept for the Son who endured it all so that I might have eternal life. And then I wept for the mother of that Son. The one who had to watch, when all she wanted to do was protect her first-born.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 22:33-34 NIV