I was sitting in my desk when I overheard a conversation between a few students in my class. They were not happy with me and could only express themselves in their childlike way and with the vocabulary they had. In that moment, I was defined as mean! It was okay. I wasn’t happy with them either. LOL!
I had a good chuckle. I was not offended but was amused. I knew I had been hard on them. I knew I had put parameters on their behaviour. I knew what they were capable of and needed to produce, yet weren’t. What I was seeing didn’t cut it. It wasn’t going to produce good and lasting fruit. I am a strict teacher and when needed, I display the side of me children don’t always like to see, yet it is necessary that they do. They believe I don’t like them. I know it is out of love. I may not like their behaviour but I want the best for them and from them.
This scenario made me think: how many times did I think God was “mean” because His answer was not what I wanted to hear? How many times did I confuse God’s heart because my heart felt bruised? Like the children in my class, we can often resort to thinking God doesn’t like us or isn’t treating us right, all because we don’t get our own way or because we want to do something at the wrong time and we experience a scolding or an act of discipline. As a teacher, I have to create boundaries so that the students can fulfill their highest potential. I have to create space that is safe and produces growth. God is our teacher and He does the same with us. It doesn’t always feel good but it is always necessary.
I hold my students accountable in order to help them build a fruitful future. God does the same with us.
God gives us boundaries that we are to live within, not to keep us from good but to allow us to experience more of his goodness towards us. He has to put up boundaries, for us to fulfill our highest potential, for our safety and for our growth. God promises us in Deuteronomy 28 there are blessings in being faithful to his instruction and guidelines. We only receive them once we have done what we have been asked and instructed to do. There is no way around that.
There are classroom behaviour codes or rules so that everyone feels respected and safe, so that everyone can get along and have the most positive relationships with each other, so that everyone can bring out the best in each other and we see that when the codes are broken or the rules are not followed, everyone gets hurt. Students don’t always like to be reminded of this or to suffer the consequences when they have broken the class code. This example reminds me of the Ten Commandments in Exodus. God created them so that we have right relationship with each other and with God. We don’t like to be reminded that we have broken them and we do suffer the consequences of not following them. God then has to discipline us, but it is out of love as Proverbs 3:11-12 states, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” It may not feel good, sound good or in the moment end in pleasure, “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
I hold my students accountable in order to help them build a fruitful future. God does the same with us. For my students, I am the one who is responsible for directing them to take the right emotional, mental, social, and physical paths. I try to lead well. They may not always like it or me. Looks like I have something in common with the best teacher there is. The Lord is our good teacher and our gate and gate keeper, we may not always like His ways but if we follow Him, we will always have abundant life. He always leads well. He loves well. He strictly loves us to produce the best in us and through us.