But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. ~1 John 1:9, NLT
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Smelling Like A Rose
Sitting in class waiting for the teacher to come in, it was a shock to my system when he opened the door, called my name, then said, “See me out in the hall.” Heads turned my direction. Eyes bulged. I felt the heat creep up my neck and face. As I slowly got to my feet, all eyes were on me and the whispers began;
“What did you do?”
“What does he want?”
“Are you in trouble?”
All I could do was shrug my shoulders and slowly trudge to the classroom door. It was so quiet in there you could hear a pin drop.
I stepped out into the hallway and there he was. Across the hall he stood, all “six-foot-hundred” of this huge teacher of a man. My heart came up into my throat and I went into withdrawal mode, withdrawing into myself when I felt that defense was needed. I was standing before an authority figure, so before he could start the verbal assault that I told myself was coming, I withdrew. But the assault never occurred. Instead, something else happened.
As I approached my teacher, he looked down on me and then he literally reclined his huge frame on one elbow on the radiator heater next to us and looked me in the eye. He lowered himself to my level. Yet, instead of speaking in his deep, loud and booming voice, he lowered it to a soft, but deep, caring voice as he began to speak.
My grades were too low and that did not suit him. Instead of lecturing me on my low grades though, he did let me know that my grades were too low, but he also, with great care explained to me how to raise my grades. He actually explained to me HOW to study so that when I did take his tests I could pass, thereby bringing me up to "smelling like a rose.” Then he did something no one else had done before. He smiled at me! He patted my shoulder and sent me back into class.
I had just been the recipient of grace and mercy. I didn't know it at the time, of course. But even now, this teacher has always held a special place in my heart.
This is a lot like how God works in our lives. He doesn't bash us. He doesn't assault us. He never makes us feel useless, scared, or like we don’t matter. Instead, he lovingly rebukes us when we mess up, just as my teacher did me. Let’s face it, we do mess up. All kids do. God knows this, yet He still loves us. He wants to see us succeed. So when we need it, He calls us out into the hallway. He lowers Himself down on one elbow so he can look us in the eye. Then He begins to explain to us what we have done and how to fix the problem.
Sounds so simple doesn't it? That’s because it is! Yet, we make things harder by trying to dance around the issues. We think we have to perform in order to earn forgiveness, when forgiveness is already there. All we have to do is accept it. Ask God to forgive you, accept that He has, and then move forward!
The first test I took and passed in that particular class, my teacher looked over at me and smiled. It was a secret between the two of us. My classmates didn't get it. But I think my teacher knew, and I know that I knew, he showed me grace, thereby taking the stress out of my experience in his classroom.
When he passed away many years later, I was heartbroken. Yet, I always remembered the compassion and the grace that he showed a young, scared, fifteen-year-old girl. I brought my grades up in his class. I heard his message. I answered the call and was rewarded.