There he was, disrupting the class, AGAIN!!! I usually have three warnings before I give a student demerits, but Mark had long exceeded the warnings. I was pregnant at this time with my first child and my emotions, hormones, (you name it!) were all over the place. I became easily fed up with any and every thing that annoyed me.
I even came to the point where I cried (IN FRONT OF MY WHOLE CLASS)! Embarrassing? At that moment, I could care less. You know how sometimes you can use “crying” as a tool for someone to “feel” sorry for you? Well, I can’t remember if that was my goal, but I can remember the whole class being so quiet, as if you could hear each child’s heartbeat.
At this time, Mark had stopped misbehaving, but it was too late; he had already pushed every single button I had. To top it off, it wasn’t even 12PM yet! 😦
This was the scenario ALMOST EVERY DAY OF THAT SCHOOL YEAR. How did I survive?
GRACE – specifically, GOD’S GRACE!
I was privileged to have a restroom in my classroom and many, if not all times, it was VERY CONVENIENT for me (Don’t Forget, I was pregnant)! Every time, I went into this restroom, I saw a picture frame with some kind of background (I can’t remember) and on that background was a quote that went something like this, “The best time to love someone is when they are UNLOVABLE.” Those were not the exact words but somewhere in that realm. I remember seeing that, especially on the days that Mark was unlovable and think to myself, “How am I supposed to love this student? He’s so disruptive and disrespectful!” My most common prayer that school year was probably, “God help me and please give me grace.”
Now, Mark came from a broken home. He lived with his dad and older brother; his mom was out of the picture. I tried to understand his background and the lack of a mother-figure in his life but some days were tougher than others. During those tougher days, I wouldn’t care what background he came from; I wouldn’t care about the quote I saw in the restroom; I just didn’t care….
NOW imagine if GOD didn’t care. If He didn’t care, I wouldn’t be here; you wouldn’t be here; no one would be here. There would be no purpose for any of our lives – if God simply DID NOT CARE.
It’s easy in situations like the one i just described to NOT CARE but that mentality can destroy a person, a family, a church, a company, a city, a state, a country, and eventually our world.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines care as, “To be anxious or solicitous; to be concerned about.” To be concerned about “something” means that that “something” is of great importance.
There I was thinking, “Well, he’s not that important to me.” Then God comes along and says to me, “Well, he’s important to me; and whatever is important to me should be important to you.” OUCH! Conviction hit strong!
Now, there are a few meanings we can get from this “I don’t care” mentality.
- When someone says “I don’t care”, people tend to think the following:
a) That was rude. (A lot says about us by what we say, but more so, HOW we say things) I think it’s quite weird and difficult to say, “I don’t care” joyfully. I didn’t say it was impossible. It’s definitely possible. But that concept just doesn’t go together. May we be careful HOW we say things.
b) Fine, if you don’t care, neither should I. (What we think, do, or say can be contagious) What we need to keep in mind is, “Is what we’re spreading positive or negative?” “Is what we’re spreading helping or hurting others?” If I say, “I don’t care, the tendency is the other person will probably think the same towards me.
c) Who cares about you, anyways?!? (Usually in a moment of being hurt or offended, we become defensive) We respond in an unthoughtful way. We say things that we don’t really mean. We end up regretting what we said, did, or thought towards another.
OK. So you’re probably thinking what happened to Mark.
Well, we got through the school year. It was a tough one but we managed. I noticed that whenever I responded to Mark’s misbehavior or disrespect towards me or his classmates in a soft, gentle but firm and loving manner, he responded positively. It was as if this little 2nd Grader was given hope again – hope that he could be better; hope that he could be liked; hope that could overcome the obstacles that were in his life.
I see Mark often. He’s still in school (as a 5TH GRADER NOW!!) and still difficult to deal with, at least from what I’ve heard from other teachers…
I thought after the school year was finished that Mark would hate me, simply because of the many times I corrected him, I gave him demerits and detentions, I had conferences with his dad, and he even got sent to the Principal’s office and almost got expelled!!!
But I look at him now and thank God that he’s still in school. I see a future man who God will use to accomplish great things for Him. The thought seems really far-fetched to me and maybe even to his current teachers but it’s amazing what God will do with someone like Mark!
So whether you’re a teacher who has a student like Mark, a parent who has a difficult child, an employer with a disrespectful employee or vice versa, or maybe even a “Mark”, here’s something to take with you:
TIMELESS TRUTH: “True love is when you are completely forgiving to someone who has been completely unloving.” -JudyLynn
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1 John 4:7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
1 John 4:11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
If we can’t forgive those who have been unlovable, then how do we expect God to forgive us?
GENUINE LOVE = GOD