I recently read a blog from a Facebook link. It was about a foster child punching another child, and the mother of the injured child calls the boy’s foster mom. The call was unusual and unexpected. The injured child’s mom invited the boy over for a play date. They wanted to make sure the boy knew that even though his actions hurt, that he was still loved.
You can read the whole story here: http://www.thehouseofhendrix.com/2015/10/11/lean-in-to-kids/
This story really hit home with me. The usual reaction when we or someone we love is hurt, is to be angry. To demand an apology. To want compensation. The anger we feel needs to be satisfied. Our righteousness in the matter needs to be recognized. The foster child needs to be cast aside as unworthy. Unloveable. What is happening in the foster child’s life does not matter …
How often have we encountered people who rub us the wrong way? Their actions may inconvenience us, cause us pain or anger us. So we pull away. What if we didn’t? Like the mother above, what if we leaned in and loved this person? What if we invested effort and time into this person to show that they mattered?
Driving school bus exposes me to some children who have been the worst part of my day. The highlight of my day was when I dropped them at school or at home. Their behaviour got on every nerve I had. Just seeing them caused my irritation to rise. So recently I tried to lean in. It was not natural. It was painful and through gritted teeth. I made conversation with them. I said “good morning” and “good night”. I watched them with different eyes. Over the days the teeth gritting stopped. The irritation went away. I saw problems that could be fixed to make the children happier. It was an experiment with great results for them and me.
We don’t always know what causes people to behave the way they do at times. Our lives are so busy, it is easier to walk away and move on with those we get along with. If Jesus had done that, there would be no one to follow Him. Jesus ate and talked with the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the lepers, the adulterous woman, thieves, murderers … Jesus leaned in.