My heart is split in two right now.
On the one hand, my problem student was absent today. The class was outstanding. We opened our textbook, read and discussed some background information on The Canterbury Tales, and talked about characterization. Even when a small hiccup occurred with my PowerPoint presentation, the students waited patiently for it to load and class continued as if it had never happened.
Now, I’m not saying I expect class to run that smoothly every single day. But this is where my heart begins to ache. It was recognized by the entire class that things were running smoothly because of the absence of one student.
You are in a sad, frightening place in your life when the people around you are relieved by your absence. And I have noticed that this is the lonely pattern for those who too often exude anger, bitterness, frustration, negativity, disrespect. Eventually, people abandon you because it’s just not healthy for anyone to spend so much time filled with rage to the point of wanting to sabotage the success of others.
My heart breaks for this girl. She is 18 years old, barely an adult, and already her peers are relieved when she isn’t around. And, I must admit (although it kills me to do so), I was also relieved by her absence today.
What should I do for this girl? I have been positive, encouraging, loving, complimentary, and I have given her more chances than I can count on my fingers and toes. The Bible teaches that I should love my neighbor as myself, but I don’t think I have ever been where she is. That is a dark place, when an entire group of people are either afraid of you or dread being around you.
Jesus says in Mark that what comes out of the mouth is a reflection of what is in the heart. Where is this girl in her life if she so often spouts such disrespect and hatred towards people who are trying to help her (teachers, family, etc.)? What is in her heart? And if it is as dark as her words, what happened to her to make it so dark?
I know what I need to do. Pray. Let Jesus change her heart while still respecting her, loving her, and encouraging her as I do all of my students.
Prayer changes they way you see others because it challenges you to see them as God sees them. [Tweet that]
Jesus gained his strength by refocusing his thoughts and actions to that of His father through prayer. Even His humble words of forgiveness on the cross were said as a prayer to His Father in Heaven. “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” In John chapter 17, not long before His crucifixion, Jesus prays for every one of God’s children, including those who would persecute Him, betray Him, deny Him, and abandon Him. And, of course, just before His arrest, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus squashes all doubt and fear as He prays so fervently to the Father that He is soon ready to obey God’s will and die for the sins of all of God’s children.
Because of Jesus’s unconditional mercy on the cross, our mercy should also be unconditional. [Tweet that]
Pray for my student. Pray for me. See if there is anyone in your life who needs prayer and show mercy whether they deserve it or not.