I’ve been teaching children since I was a child. Granted, I was an older child teaching much younger children but I was still very young.
I’ve taken periods of time off from teaching but I always seem to go back.
People still question my sanity but I absolutely love watching a child comprehend a Biblical concept.
It’s not always an easy task — especially when naps are missed or when every wish and desire is not met. Children are children.
My degree is in secondary education and although I enjoyed that time, my favorite is teaching the Bible to young children. I’ve recently just finished a children’s devotional that I’m working on illustrating. If I’m honest, I’ve been dragging my feet because I don’t have children in my home. I feel like a bit of a fraud but that’s an issue for another post.
One of my favorite things about working with children is their honesty. When they are upset, they’ll tell you. When they’re hungry, they don’t care what they interrupt. When they are happy, they demonstrate it for the world to see.
They’re also quick to point out verbal faux pas. Not that they’d call them that.
“He said poopy!”
“She told me I had to share!”
“Ah! You can’t say that Ms. Stephanie! That’s a bad word!”
Now, before you jump conclusions — I did not say a bad word. Really.
What I said was “Holy cow! That’s beautiful!”
Curious about what she thought was bad, I asked.
She responded, “You said Ho… you know. That’s bad.”
It took me a minute but I was able to put the pieces together eventually.
She was from a split home. Dad was not a Christian and cursed. Mom was who she lived with most of the time and mom was not okay with what her daughter repeated.
How do you explain that Holy wasn’t the bad word there? Further, how do you explain to a four-year-old what holy even means? Especially since it’s used to flippantly?
The Dictionary explains holy like this: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred.
Additionally, sacred means: dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration.
And finally, veneration: great respect; reverence.
I explained in simple terms that holy is word to explain God. He is alone is holy — meaning that He never ever does anything wrong and that He can make us holy by helping us to live like Him.
Even as we cut and pasted and snacked and did the remainder of our lesson, my brain worked.
If holy meant that something was sacred, set apart, deserving of respect, why did I toss the word around as if it was just a simple expression?
Robin’s quips of “Holy (insert noun), Batman!” from the old Adam West Batman episodes came to mind. And Frank from Everybody loves Raymond with his “Holy Crap, Marie” have made holy a casual word and made it nothing more than a way to add color to an expression.
The Bible talks about holiness frequently. We understand the God alone is holy but that he can make other thing holy.
- He made the seventh day holy (Genesis 2: 3)
- The ground on which He met Moses was holy (Exodus 3: 5)
- He made Israel a holy nation (Leviticus 20: 26)
- He made the Sabbath holy (Exodus 20: 8)
- Aaron’s garments and the things within the Tabernacle were holy.
- Offerings given to the Lord were made holy.
- God’s name is holy (Leviticus 22: 32)
This list could go on but I won’t.
Revelation 15 tells us that God alone is holy.
And 1 Peter 1 tells us to be holy.
We’re not told that holy is a holy word but if God only uses it to describe the things that He sets apart then maybe I should think a little higher of it. Holiness is something that we shouldn’t take lightly.
Holy is the very nature of God.
Holiness is something I should be striving for. Not a word to be used casually. It should be my goal and not my slang.
From the mouth of a child, I learned my lesson.
I don’t always get it right but I’m trying to think of the holy as a more precious word.