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Obey my laws, and carefully follow my rules. Then you will live securely in the land. Leviticus 25:18 (GW)
Every day I dread seeing one of my classes due to one student. The student is very bright and can be very nice, but this quality is overlooked because of his behavior. Once he finally shows up for class, the irritating behavior begins, my body gets tensed and I cannot wait for the class to end just because of one student.
Prior to him entering the class, everyone is usually calm, going about preparing to work. Once he walks through the door, I hear sighs, groans, and comments of a disappointing, “Man, he came to class.” The class is aware that it was because of this student that they were not able to go on a field trip. They are aware that a few benefits that my other Junior class are afforded as a group, they have not been offered the same. Not fair to this class I thought and decided to punish the one who deserved it, instead of everyone in the class. Unfortunately, this does not always work when the others get drawn into his nest of non-compliance by laughing at his shenanigans.
I often think how unfair this is to me that I have to put up with such behavior and disrespect. He taunts his classmates, always out of his seat and often talks back when spoken to. I am not accustomed to such blatant disrespect, but I continue to give him chance after chance. When he has questions, I answer. When he need help, I help him. Even when he is hungry, I feed him. Despite his terrible behavior and teenage attitude, I want to see him succeed.
This reminds me of how we are at times when it comes to following God’s Directions. Often we get sidetracked by what we want to do that we disregard our instructions from God. This leads us on a journey of often disappointing and problematic experiences. Jonah experienced this when he did not follow God’s direction to go Nineveh. Instead, in his own wisdom, Jonah went a different route. This route led him on a downward spiral of being thrown into the sea, swallowed by a big fish and much heartache.
Peter wrestled with what he really believed in when he denied Jesus, cursing and swearing. David, a man after God’s own heart, wrestled with his own selfish desires that led him in a life of twist and turns constantly battling to do what was right and often doing what was wrong. Yet, God loved them all.
I think of God’s love when dealing with this student. Yes, he should follow my directions. Yes, he should be respectful and do his work. But at the end of the day, when he comes to me for help, I must put the other behavior behind me and help. Even with all that we do, God still loves us. He puts all of our dysfunctional behaviors aside, and he help us anyway. God does not hold grudges and neither should we. Just follow directions.