I was working with my last two kids of the morning and noticed one named Eric seemed a little frustrated. I thought it was because I had corrected his reading and he easily gets discouraged by his struggle to read. Then, rather unexpectedly, he looks up at me with a concerned look on his face that I had not seen before. "Do liars go to hehl?" And he said it, just like that, with a little bit of a blur at the end of the word. I was surprised and said, "What?"
He asked again.
"Do liars go to hehl?"
"Oh, do liars go to hell?" I clarified.
He nodded and said, "A boy in another class told me that liars go to hell. He seemed genuinely burdened with any lie he has ever told.
With that my mind immediately began turning. I contemplated what I was allowed to say, what I should say, and whether or not I could get in trouble for answering honestly?
I concluded, 'Well I am basically a long-term substitute, so. . . I didn't really know, right?'
I looked down at him and said, "Eric, I believe in a thing called grace."
His head shot up in a very confused expression.
"And grace basically means that God will forgive us when we lie or do other things wrong. We just have to believe that He really will."
"Yeah," he said quickly. "Well, well, I believe in God."
The other student Anthony chimed in also, "Yeah. I believe in God, too."
"So, so I'm not going to hehl?" Eric asked for assurance.
"It's good to believe in God, Eric. He'll always forgive you and He wants you in Heaven."
That was it. We went on with the rest of our work. I have wondered if I said the right things or answered clearly enough, but I am just hoping that Eric heard the assurance he needed and knows we have a gracious and loving God.