Thursday, March 27, 2014

What My Students Taught Me About Sin

Teaching junior high certainly has its ups and downs.

Raging hormones. Attitudes. Apathy. Hilarity. Laughter. Joy.

I love it. Absolutely love it…although some days bring me to tears. Usually those days are wrought with unreasonable behavior, crazy stress, and a feeling that I've failed. The longer I teach (praise the Lord!), the days are fewer and farther between--although they still certainly exist.

Yesterday, after the bell rand, and I was working at my desk, I was once again brought to tears--more like wracked with tears. But, my cheeks were not stained because of the reasons listed above, they were pouring out of a broken heart.

A bit earlier in the day, a couple of my students made a series of poor decisions. One was more apt to poor choices. The other could probably count her life's poor choices on one hand.

Students make mistake all the time. Kids make poor choices multiple times a day. So, why was my heart broken? Why was I sitting at my desk in tears? I was asking myself the same question…

I was still bothered when I got home--about the situation, yes, but almost more so about my reaction to it. I love and care about my students immensely, and I am always more attached to them during this time of year, but to this extent?

So, I texted my dear friend Nicole.

AE: Have you ever loved/cared about your students so much that their decisions disappoint/frustrate you to the point of tears?? This teaching business is hard!

N: Oh friend, I'm so sorry. I have been there. I think it's just a glimpse of what parenting must be like and an even smaller glimpse of the Lord's heartache over our own sin. 

AE: That's how I was feeling today. My heart was just breaking. It's hard to imagine how much I'll love my own kids after this, and so much more difficult to imagine just how much God loves us. 

N: Keep loving those kids, even though they are unlovable sometimes.

I have often thought about my students in terms of parenting and how my love for them will one day (Lord willing) be multiplied by a million as I have my own kids.

But, I hadn't thought about my relationship with my students in terms of my relationship with God. If I love my kids this much, and if their poor choices break my heart THIS MUCH, how much MORE does God love me?

How much more do I break his heart every single day with my sin? 

Talk about perspective. 

And, of course, I forgave those students. I still love them. I'll still continue to teach them and guide them and discipline them as necessary.

And, of course (and even more so), the arms of my amazingly loving Lord and Savior are always open for me--filled with unconditional grace, forgiveness, and redemption. 

I know my students learned a lesson yesterday, but I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit saw fit to break a piece of my guarded heart and teach me an invaluable lesson as well.

Ephesians 2: 4-9

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Gosh, I love you and your heart.