I wasn't sure at what point in our childrens life that we would encounter concerns about faith from their friends and didn't anticipate it from a 8 year old. Well, I don't want to give too much info on the friend so instead I will highlight the conversation between us. We were at the park and all the kids are playing. The day before a question was asked about one of our children believing in Jesus and I said yes. Nothing else said but still a look of concern was noted. So back at the park. Our friend comes up to me, quite concerned and whispers that she/he doesn't believe in Jesus. She/he whispered out of concern for the friendship that he/she has with one of our kids and thinks that it will ruin it.
As background for this situation we have only known this family for a few months and we don't throw out christenese in our developing relationships either. We have done our best just to live our lives accordingly and being sensitive to those around us, due to the image that is conjured when religion is involved. Its really sad that people have bad ideas about people that believe in Jesus and I'm sure every one knows what kind of things are said. I've heard too many stories of well meaning "Christians" that draw lines when beliefs or practises aren't shared. It's really very sad and tragic. I can't even imagine where I would be if I hadn't opened my heart and mind to the diversity of mankind. I certainly wouldn't have enjoyed so many great friendships and seen those that don't "believe" more times than not, shown me so much more love and acceptance than someone that does. So that being said back to my story.
My heart just ached. That this precious child was almost heart broken over this seemingly divisive fact. I looked at him/her as he/she didn't want to tell my kid that they didn't share something in common, which seems so important in making friends and keeping them in a 8 year old mind. I asked if I could talk about it and was given consent. My response was that it isn't a problem and knew that it wouldn't be for our children either. I gave my child the opportunity to choose for her/himself the importance of this fact and he/she replied that it wasn't a problem either. Another note is that I didn't try to go to far with this either. I respected this child and where they are at. My last comment was this, just because we don't believe the same things it doesn't mean we can't be friends. There was still a look of uncertainty but eventually that dissipated and they were back to playing.
This was a very proud moment for me as a mother and I have always hoped that our home would be a place for all people to find refuge, nonjudgement and acceptance (not to be confused with tolerance). I believe that most if not all people want to be loved and this is the energy that took place between our family and our childs friend. The message to our child is quite clear. We can be friends with all people and still hold our own belifs in tact, all the while expressing unconditional love. I can only imagine what this poor kid thought I might say or do! It truly was like it was the end of the world. I really hope our kindness will be like a good seed that grows over time, will be remembered, revisited when others confuse what it means to love God and love others.