In Daniel’s world, there are only two kinds of people – goodies and baddies. He has recently started a new topic at school on superheroes and this has fuelled his interest in goodies and baddies. Last night he asked the question, ‘Mummy, who would be friends with a baddie?’ The tone of his voice indicated that he thought it would be very foolish to be friends with ‘bad’ people.
I responded to Daniel’s question by telling him the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus. I explained that Jesus could have chosen anybody’s house to go to for tea but that he chose someone who nobody else liked, someone who had cheated others out of money. We talked about how this encounter with Jesus changed Zacchaeus’ life and turned him from a baddie into a goodie. We then talked about why Jesus might have chosen to be friendly towards baddies. We discussed how Jesus wanted to see people’s lives touched by God so that they could live as He intended.
Our conversation continued with us thinking about why good people today might choose to be kind and friendly towards those who are seen as naughty or bad by society. We discussed the fact that sometimes people who end up making unwise choices and being perceived as baddies have actually had some bad things happen to them and what they need most is love and acceptance i.e. a ‘goodie’ to befriend them.
I think and hope that Daniel was challenged by our conversation. Of course I want him to make wise friendship choices and to surround himself with people who will bring out the very best in him. But I want Daniel’s desire to be a superhero or a ‘goodie’ to be a desire to fight injustice and bad behaviour rather than baddies per se. I hope that he will love and support baddies regardless of what they have done in the same way as Jesus did.