The Lawyer and the Mean Boy {Don’t Give Up on Anyone}

He solemnly looks at the principal.

Is it true?  Did you say this?

Yes, it’s true.

Give him points for admission.

This is the same kid who gave me a book a few months ago called One Fat Summer and told me it was the perfect book for me.  (Teaching isn’t for the thin-skinned.)


Yet, here I am, listening to this boy and the principal discuss how he’s hurt another student with his words.    And my tears pool.

Geezzzz…this boy has hurt my feelings and disrespected me more times than I can count.  I’ve sequestered him, reasoned with him, and yelled at him.  Not much works.  But when I look at him, I just can’t see the disrespectful bully.

I see hurt.   And I hurt for him.

 I see a boy who wants to be loved.  I see a boy who desires attention and acceptance.


He looks at me with disdain and arrogance.

Are you going to sign or not? {loosely paraphrased}

I am trying to understand what it’s saying, I say as tears cloud my vision.  .

He rolls his eyes, shuffles papers, and shakes his head.

And I hate him.

I hate him for making me feel less than and dumb. I understand that part of being a lawyer might be intimidation.  But heartless and hateful?  Not necessary.

I want to be spiteful and not sign just to tick him off. {mature, huh?} My daughter is watching me, and in my head I hear…this is not who you are, Sarah.  Hate and spite.

I sign.  The court date comes, and once again, he talks to me as if I am four. I don’t loathe anyone really, except this man.

Today I go to his office to sign the last papers. My stomach tossing and turning as I drive. I pray…mercy, Lord.  I just want to sign and leave.

Prayer granted.  No enemy sighting.  But, as I drove away, I felt God saying…he’s just like that student. He really is.


The student. The lawyer.  Both crying out for attention in their own way.

One refusing to work and causing trouble

Another racking up case wins and belittling comments.

One using his ignorance and the other using his intelligence to make others feel less than…to make himself feel better.

And my heart has to admit that the root of the insults is almost always {somewhere deep}  a desire for love, attention, and acceptance.

We all want this, huh?  Love (we are worthy).  Attention (we matter). Acceptance (we are liked and included as we are).

Still… I ponder the young boy’s “hope and future,” deciding his future is bleak at best.

As I continue listening to the principal /student interchange, I hear the boy say he goes to church.  {I can’t share what prompted the conversation to head this way, but this boy knows the Bible. It’s evident.}

He gets to church on a bus driven by Miss Mary. {name changed}

And I know…his “hope and  future”?  The one that looks VERY bleak?  The future that to my human eyes seems sad, a bit hopeless?  I’m judging too soon.


Miss Mary is sewing into this boy.  She is seed planting then watering, tending, pruning, and picking.  She’s faithful.

And I bet Miss Mary would like to throw her hands up some Wednesdays and Sundays as she listens to him drop the F-bomb in her church van. I might have kicked him out.  If you knew this child, you might write him off.

Not Miss Mary. She’s pouring in.

Because Miss Mary knows something we all should learn:  her work isn’t about the now…the immediate behavior…it’s about eternity.

Because I know my efforts to be kind to the mean lawyer are not about the now…his immediate behavior….it’s about eternity. {even if my heart is NOT following any kindness…sadly}

When we say a kind word, love others, and walk alongside them – pouring in – the work is heart work. When we follow our Creator, faithful to a child – or even the lawyer  – He works in ways we don’t understand. Ways we can’t see.

Your faithfulness and work?   It might manifest as better “behavior” someday, but for now, stay faithful.  We’re counting on you – He’s counting on you – to keep pouring in quietly and faithfully.

To your children.  To her children.  To the neighbor boy.  To the gal at church.  To your children’s friends.

It really does take a village, especially if a child’s village is at war. Not paying attention. Self-focused.  Fighting.

My human, judgmental eyes might want to say…don’t waste your time, Miss Mary, or your van’s gas.  But, I suspect Miss Mary knows:  it’s not a waste.  It’s a calling she’s living out each time she pulls up to his house.  She may never know the “fruit” of her labor.


I’m choosing to believe today  the one who died for ALL our sins sees the boy and the lawyer as HIS. Souls he created to glorify Him. And if I believe in a God who knows the numbers of stars in the sky, hairs on my head, grains of sand on the beach…a God who loves me and wants to commune with me daily…

I  must believe in a God who loves and desires communion with the boy and the lawyer.

And you.

All. Equally.  None better than another.

 7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. 1 John 4: 7-12


  1. Kathy Ridge says:

    Sarah, I so appreciate your words and the truth they drive home to me. I am praying for you, for God to continue to speak to your heart, because I truly believe out of your pain and hurt so many will be healed as they read your blog. You are a beautiful woman.

    • Thanks, Kathy…that is very sweet. That’s my prayer. That this isn’t wasted for I know He wastes nothing. I appreciate your kind words! Sarah

  2. Sometimes when we don’t want to make hard choices, God takes over and does it for us. I love how you write and felt the emotion. I also will be praying for you. Thank you for writing this. Sharin (Nancy’s cousin)

  3. My father grew up in the inner city projects of Miami, Florida. Poverty, alcoholism, and suicide are part of his family story. He was raised by a single mother when it wasn’t common and yet a friend invited him to ride the church bus when he was in grammar school. At age nine, he accepted Christ and when his mother remarried, they both attended a kids program and as a family committed to Christ. It ‘stuck.’ My father was the first in his family to attend college, then seminary and become a pastor and eventually V.P. for a Bible College.

    I’m sure that most didn’t consider the little poverty-stricken boy with a speech impediment to amount to much. I never knew the life before, but I witness the wonder of my dad who pastors still and has left a new family legacy.

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