Liz Hulley writes:

There was something rubbing me the wrong way about some Sunday school play scripts we were looking at. The message of almost every scenario was either “You are special in God’s eyes” or “Everyone is special in God’s eyes.”

I’m not sure why, but to me this seemed like an incomplete representation of God’s love for us and of how we should relate to others.

For one thing, take out the “in God’s eyes” part and you could have any bumper sticker or maybe group therapy message.

The typical scenario goes like this:

All the animals (flowers, letters of the alphabet, etc.) are arguing about who is more important.

A mediator enters the scene, tells everyone to hush and work together, then they collectively make a pretty rainbow/bouquet/picture, and finish with “EVERYONE IS SPECIAL!”

Now, when the disciples were arguing about who was greatest, Christ said something a little different.

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:35-37)

To end an argument with “everyone is special” to me sounds like “it’s a tie, you all win.”

But the point is that we ought not to seek victory OVER one another.

Our response should not be “see, you’re not better than me,” but “It’s true, I’m not better than you.”

1 Corinthians 1:28 says, “He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

However, I realize that there is another side to it. People do need to hear different messages, based on their life experiences and the condition of their hearts.

I’ve never particularly felt unloved. Kids from an orphanage might feel differently. Anyone who’s faced rejection at one time or another might have really needed to hear “you are special.”

So it isn’t that the message of being special and unique and loved is necessarily false or unchristian. Overused, perhaps?

How much do children need to be told that they are “special”? What do you think?

How can we teach them their worth for the Kingdom in such a way that brings glory to God? That demonstrates what a privilege it is to be called His child? That allows them to look at others not as EQUAL to but as BETTER than oneself?