Have you ever been told you are not liked, and it came from one of your students? For a while now, I have been getting a negative vibe coming from one of the kids I minister to and that negative energy has been directed at me. It wasn’t until last night at church she decided to tell me straight up, with a dirty look, that she doesn’t like me…in front of everyone! I thought my mind was prepared for a situation like this, but it turns out it wasn’t because I wasn’t sure how to respond. Yes, with love and grace. But I was hurting; this is a child I give my heart to after all.

Needless to say, I do not think I handled the negativity in the best possible way. Sometimes it is a lot easier to let criticism just roll off you and other times, not so much. This was one of those not so much times. I sort of shut down and became silent towards her; even when she faced towards me, put one hand on each shoulder and just looked me in the eyes. We both just looked at each other, not saying a word.

If I had a re-do, I would take a moment to tell her how beautiful she is. That she is not the words she speaks or the thoughts she thinks. She is who God says she is; righteous and deeply loved. She has a great present and future, and she will do amazing things in Christ. Because these are the words she needs to hear, this is the truth God has for her. God’s plan for her is greater than any negativity or criticism she can give. His plan prevails.

If you have ever been criticized by one of your students and you could have a re-do, what would you do different? Please share!

Ashley Fordinal is the Children’s Church volunteer at Family Life Church in Sulphur Springs, TX.