Will Vision is a Kindergartener in a Christian private school. He’s a really special kid, a good kid. He has great manners, a huge heart, works hard, loves Jesus and loves people.
Evan Christian is a 2nd Grader in Will’s school. He has a heart of good intentions. He tries really hard to look good, to be right, to get the acclaim of his teachers. He appears to have it all together. This motivation to be right sometimes leads Evan to argue and fight with others. Evan thinks this is ok because he comes from the wealthiest, most powerful family in town – and has a special privilege and right. Every so often, Evan is a bully. Most people don’t see this, or they ignore it. But some of the other kids see it. They are the ones who usually receive an unkind word from Evan, are not included in the games Evan plays because they are not just like him, or they are threatened by Evan until they do what he wants. Most of the students, at one time or another, have felt the sting of Evan making them feel less than him.
Will likes Evan. He loves Evan. Will seems to love everyone. Evan is mostly nice to Will, especially if Will agrees to play the games Evan wants to play and do things Evan wants done.
Gayle Homos is a classmate of Will, in Kindergarten, a relatively new kid in school, as her family moved into town mid-semester. She has a sweet nature, and can make friends easily, but it usually doesn’t take long for her friends to notice something different about Gayle. She is a glutton. She really struggles with eating too much and… it shows. Most of the kids in the school know that gluttony is wrong, and since Gayle keeps doing it, they are not always loving to her. Instead, they focus only on Gayle’s gluttony and make her feel shame over it. Or, they’ve quit talking to Gayle completely. Evan is the most vocal about this. He met Gayle on the playground one day, where she was eating a sweet bun – and from that moment on, Evan has said nasty things to her every day. He breaks her heart over and over again, telling her she is not a real person, that she could never be like him or his friends, that she is not right with Jesus, and that she is like a monster. Consequently, Gayle is tormented. Despite her gluttony, she loves Jesus, and wants to help others. But now, she just feels mostly alone.
But Will has been taking an interest in Gayle, inviting her over to the swings to swing with him, and working at the science center in the classroom with her. Will likes Gayle. He loves her. He notices her gluttony too, and doesn’t necessarily agree with it, or like it, and she knows that – but he chooses to see the great qualities Gayle has, and love her.
For a few months, Will has been working in a homeless shelter with his family. They go on the weekends and visit the people there. They pray with them, sit with them, take them food and clothes – and show them the Love of Jesus. Evan has taken an interest in this activity of Will’s, as he sees it as the right thing to do, part of the obligation of being right – and has started to contribute money, coats, and food toward the cause. Every Friday, Evan’s mom brings an SUV load full of supplies, and a stack of cash to school, and transfers it to Will’s mom’s truck. Then, Will and his family spend the weekend delivering the supplies.
Will is delighted. He is seeing people have their needs met like never before. He is falling in love with those he is making ongoing relationship with. They express sincere gratitude, saying they do not know what they would do if not for Will, his family, and the supplies they bring.
Will is so thankful for Evan’s help, but is also realizing his dependence on Evan, in order to continue to bless the less fortunate he loves to care for.
One day, on the monkey bars, Will is playing with Gayle, and she asks him about his weekend service to the homeless. Will’s eyes light up as he tells Gayle about all the people he knows, by name, on the streets downtown – and how amazing it is to be able to help them. He tells her how truly grateful they are for Will’s love.
Gayle feels something in her heart leap. She wants to be a part of this. She thinks this sounds like a different Love, a True Love, that she doesn’t yet know. She asks Will somewhat sheepishly, if he would let her come along and serve with him.
Will thinks about it for a minute. Thoughts cross his mind about her gluttony issue, and how, or if that could potentially impact the service, or the people being served. How would the hungry and starving feel seeing a person who overeats for indulgence? But in the next second he concludes that nothing, nothing bad could result from one human helping another.
Love would win.
So Will enthusiastically says “Yes!” Will and Gayle hug and make plans to get together on Saturday.
But then Friday comes. And as Evan and his mom meet Will and his mom to make the normal exchange – Evan notices Gayle standing merrily beside Will. When he asks what the “glutton” is doing there with Will, Will explains that he is taking Gayle with him to serve the homeless on Saturday, and she is beyond excited, and wanted to be a part of seeing all the great supplies to be delivered too.
Evan goes nuts. He loses it. Right there in the school parking lot, in front of Will, both moms, Gayle, and anyone else who would hear – he launches a verbal tirade that both rejects and condemns Gayle for her gluttony, and threatens to withhold supplies for Will to give the homeless – angrily slamming the tailgate of his mom’s SUV shut – the supplies inside. Evan huffs off into the SUV, and it drives away.
Once again, Gayle is crushed. She has fallen from a new high, suddenly to a new low. The acceptance she felt in Will is overcome by the rejection from Evan. She has no Hope, and despairs of life. She knows Will cares for her, but so few do, she wonders if it matters. She wonders if she belongs anywhere. The thought enters her mind that she would be better off dead.
Will is devastated. He feels caught. He doesn’t agree with Evan’s position, and the way he relays it, or the way he treats Gayle – but he really needs those supplies. He really needs Evan’s support. At the same time, he cares for Gayle, and is really excited about the idea of her helping serve the homeless. He is concerned about her heart in regards to the hate shown by Evan.
What should Will do?
If these were your kids, your children, your students, kids you knew and cared about – how would you advise them to respond?
What is more Loving? Serving the poor alongside someone who sins (ANY kind of sin)? Or, withholding that service to the poor to keep the sin from being a part of the serving?