As a teacher, something I really struggle with is identity. For me, a good day can quickly turn into a bad one with just one email from a parent with a concern. This has been a struggle I’ve had for a while now, and it is just so hard for me to overcome. I find myself constantly looking for approval and assurance that I am a “good” teacher from my students, their parents, my co-teachers, and basically everywhere, except the one place I should be going: God.
I can still clearly remember one specific situation last year where I had a parent tell the Principal that “She did not want her son in my classroom.” I vividly remember reading those words on my computer screen in the format of a forwarded email and just bawling my eyes out. HOW did I make someone so upset that they literally didn’t want their child in my classroom? Was I an awful teacher? Was she right? Did I do something wrong?? I still cry today thinking of those words. They hurt to my core, because part of me believes that they are true. I felt so misunderstood, hurt, and eager to quickly prove her wrong.
Have there been words spoken to you that hurt so badly you can still so clearly hear them in your mind? Has someone ever done something so hurtful that you feel that you will never be able to forgive them? I’m sure if we all sat here long enough we could easily come up with answers to both of those questions.
The fact is, we live in a sinful world. People are going to say and do hurtful things. Inevitably, our feelings are going to get hurt. Obviously, that does not make it okay for people to say hurtful things and unfortunately, it doesn’t make those things hurt any less either. The thing is, we will never be able to control other people. Hurtful words will come and will be spoken and that is why it is so important to have our identity rooted in Christ, so that we fully know and believe what HE says about us in times where other people call the things we hold most dear about ourselves into question.
In these situations, as we remember what God says about us, I think it’s also important to remember that you have a choice in how you respond in these moments. Luckily, the Bible gives us so many examples of how we are called to respond as Christians in times like these.
One of the greatest & most convicting examples of this to me is found in Luke 23. In this passage, Jesus is being taken to the cross to be crucified. At this point, He has faced so many different hurts, many of which we face today.
He was betrayed by one of His own disciples, who actually turned Him over to the very people who would kill Him. He was falsely accused by those persecuting Him, having actually done nothing worth being convicted for. He was rejected by another one of His disciples whom denied knowing Him 3 times. He was abused physically by being beaten, name-called, and crucified on a cross, and as if that couldn’t get any worse, he was crucified and hurled insults at in a public place, which would have been humiliating.
And while He is literally hanging on the cross, with the weight of ALL the world’s sins on His shoulders, with harsh words being yelled at Him, with people watching and laughing at His pain, he looks to God and says “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
What a beautiful and convicting response. Forgiveness is a CHOICE. In this moment, I don’t believe that Jesus was minimizing their offense, but He was choosing to forgive them because He knew who the real enemy was. Our enemy is not people, but Satan. When we harbor unforgiveness, we are giving Satan a chance to hold us captive.
Offenses WILL come, that is a guarantee. I can tell you with great certainty, that was not the only hurtful email, phone call, or text that I got from parents last school year. We live in a fallen world full of sin. We are all human and make mistakes. The question is, how do you respond in these situations? Are you quick to forgive? How easy it is to respond with anger and bitterness, but that is not how we are called to respond.
The Bible tells us to love ALL people. Regardless of what they do or don’t do to you. Love people. Period! Jesus was able to see the bigger enemy and forgive the very people who were physically, mentally, and emotionally hurting Him. I pray that when I face a hurtful issue that I can humble myself, remember the true enemy, and do the same. How you respond MATTERS, take time to slowly respond today. It will make a difference! Let the verses below encourage you today to respond differently!
2 thoughts on “The Forgiven, Forgive”
I think there was a typo…period poo spoken from a student…
I am not God, but I know you are an amazing teacher. Just know your friends at Harrison Elementary believed in you as much as God does. Maybe you just need to be reminded – You are all you need to be as a teacher. You teach with love and forgiveness. We are here for you!
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