Almost every day at NETwork we see kids putting down other kids, with their words or actions. With plenty of neglect, attention seeking, and low self-esteem in our community, this comes as no surprise. The need is urgent for all of us to understand and experience God’s love, and to know the value we have in Him. As a way to encourage kids to stop treating each other like “trash” and as an experimental method of teaching foundational truths, we did a creative writing project with kids. I think you’ll enjoy reading what they wrote:
Inspired and written by Jose, Ariana, Soloman, Denise, Ky, and Johnothan
My mouth is not a trashcan,
so I will carefully say what I want to say!
My mouth is not your trashcan,
so don’t expect me to say bad things B A C K!
My ears are not your trashcan,
so don’t say bad things in the van!
My body is not a trashcan,
so don’t hit me.
My heart is not your trashcan,
so don’t say things that hurt me!
My mind is not a trashcan,
so I am taking good care of my smart brain!
My heart is not a trashcan,
so I am dumping out a lot of the old stuff
and filling it up with the love of God.
I was impressed by our kids’ enthusiasm for dignity, struck by their revealing honesty, and blessed by how they reinforced biblical truths in understandable, everyday language. The “not a trashcan” declaration is practical too, so much so that we’ve overheard kids respond to unkind words on the basketball court or in the classroom with a correction: “Hey, I’m not your trashcan!”
As we approach Christmas, we’ve been reflecting again on the significance of Christ - God in flesh - coming to earth. Ultimately, He was born that we might have new life in Him. Philippians 2 reminds us that when Jesus came He made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, and humbling himself by becoming obedient to death on a cross. To paraphrase, Jesus became our “trashcan,” taking all our “trash” - all our sin and brokenness - upon himself so we can be free from this and experience salvation. This is truly good news, and an amazing reason to celebrate!
Humbled by His love,