I learned a pretty valuable lesson from a student who was giving me a really hard time. A while back I ran a community basketball camp for kids in our neighborhood. I had a student who was supposed to help with the camp but for the first couple of days was a complete nightmare for the adult leadership. The last day of the camp was a water balloon day. We went through something like 2000 water balloons. This problem student simply refused to help or to participate in the event. Voices started to rise, tempers were beginning to flair up when finally at my wits end, I handed this student my camera (in an attempt to get him to stay) and said, “could you at least take a few shots?” You would have thought I handed this kid a bar of gold.
Before this camp I had two cell phones snapped in half, a camera smashed to bits and a pair of sunglasses broken due to crazy youth ministry events. I was understandably hesitant to hand electronics to students and they knew it. When I handed this student my camera he knew that I trusted him not to break it or to do anything that might lead to its demise. I didn’t just hand him a camera, I handed him self worth and dignity.
I did not hand over my expensive camera with the intention of making this student feel worthy of love, but that was the result and I learned a ton from it. When he took possession of the camera, his shoulders went up and back, slowly a smile started to come across his face, he took the initiative to clump students together to get the shots he wanted.
One of the things I took away from all of this is that we are a people who constantly try to prove that we are worthy of love. What do you do in your life to prove that you are worthy of the love and affection of others? I have had students who indulge in destructive sexual behavior because they are trying to feel worthy. The day I handed my camera over was the day I realized the power of believing in someone. When you show them that they are worthy and that you believe in them then their true humanity and beauty begins to rise to the surface of their being.
If we know that humanity suffers from the constant need to prove their worth, then maybe we should become people that reveal their worth. How free would you feel if you didn’t need to prove your worth on a daily basis? How much would you change your world if you revealed the worth of others on a daily basis?
By the way, if you are stuck in the trap of trying over and over to prove that you are worthy of love, Jesus Christ has already proven that for you.Share