There’s always a scrap or two taking place at break-time; I’m sure it’s one of hundreds if not thousands of schools where little fights between nine and ten-year olds break out amongst classmates. Sometimes it’s tough to keep up with the latest ongoing kerfuffle; are they playfighting or do I need to get myself over there sharpish and break it up…? The latter, obviously, must be done, if in any doubt whatsoever.
On this particularly chilly Wednesday morning though, there wasn’t a shadow of a doubt; the big lad (who we’ll call Kyle) was raging, blood boiling. The significantly smaller fella he was chasing, Max, let’s say, literally looked as though he was running for his life: fear, dread, a genuine ‘will-somebody-please-save-my-neck-here’ look. No other teachers were around, I had to step in.
No sooner had I stood in front of a vengeful looking Kyle, attempting to calm him down verbally before being forced to do so physically, had his encouraging mate, his anchor man, the Crabbe or Goyle to Kyle’s Draco Malfoy, valiantly (or maybe that should read stupidly, or disrespectfully) stepped in front of him to face me. Then, the words that would stick in my over-sensitive soul for way too long came out of his mouth forcefully, and with spite.
“You’re not even a real teacher – get away!”
For much of the remainder of the day, I imagined a scenario involving the lad who aimed the deadly dialogue right in my face to be in Max’s ‘save-my-soul’ position the very next day, begging me for help, only for me to shrug my shoulders nonchalantly and arrogantly, and to remind him that ‘I’m not a real teacher, I can’t help you.’
Just one of many, many occasions when I need to ask myself ‘What Would Jesus Do?’, realise that he’d laugh off a comment from a boy who probably forgot what he had even said to me five minutes after doing so, even if I couldn’t, forgive him, do my very best to get along with him, love him and do the very best I could for him whilst working in that school.
The same way God forgives me when I don’t deserve it.
Hebrews 12:15 says: ‘See to it that no-one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.’
What a wonderful, incomprehensible, unfathomable, beautiful, undeserving but eternal and overwhelmingly quality of our Great God. Amazing grace indeed.