I really love it when church ends up giving Big Answers.It isn't the reason why I go to church. I go to church for connection to the Holy Spirit in a holy place in a community of people who are also seeking something.
We are having drama in 6th grade. Only the 3rd week of school. The details are complicated. My child is in a unique position - she isn't a mean girl and she also isn't their victim. She is friends with both sides.
The parents of the victim seem to have expectation that my child will follow their family values - where it seems that a specific definition of loyalty is the highest priority. That justice must be sought and taking down other students in the process should be understandable. Strike back, strike others - in the name of protection.
I understand this line of thinking. I think loyalty is important in relationships. I also think loyalty is often taken too far and misconstrued into a reason to be over involved or mean to others.
And I'm not ok with that.
The main value we want to pass on to our children is kindness over everything. And sometimes that is really hard to define.
In church this past Sunday, we sang this hymn.
Yup, that about sums it up.
I went and looked at the Scripture that is the inspiration for the hymn. Luke 6:17-38 and Romans 12:9-21
Yup, that about explains it all.
Love others. Put others first. Share with others. Turn the other cheek. Give what you have to others. Love the people who don't love you. Share with people who steal from you. Pray for blessings for those who hurt you. Love your enemies. Do not seek revenge. Join others where they are.
I am watching my 11 year old daughter struggle with what all of this means. She wants to be kind to everyone - but what exactly does kindness mean in a hard situation? Her first instinct is to report back to her friends what she hears other people saying (loyalty to her friend). But that just gets her caught up in the middle even further and attaches her name to things that really have nothing to do with her.
We have talked a lot about this deeper side of what gossip is and how it should be handled.
We have talked about how kindness and loyalty can also mean that if someone speaks an opinion about something or someone, you don't have to run to the friend and tell them what was said. Sometimes it is better to show kindness by keeping things to yourself.
My child has had kids be mean to her. She has been in the pit of being the focus of the negative drama attention. And we have always told her to simply respond with kindness. You don't have to be friends with everyone. But you must be kind.
"Keep loving your enemies no matter what they do. Keep doing good to those who hate you."