Preemptive Strike – Day 17

I often share my great teacher moments, but this week, I had an epic teacher fail.

A student ask if she could take her test a day early because she was going to be absent Thursday and Friday. I replied, “No.”

She asked, “Why?”

I indignantly said, “I have no sympathy for you. Thursday was always a school day. You don’t get special privileges because your family decides to take an extra day of vacay. You will take the makeup test when you get back.”

After class, she came to me in tears. Her grandmother had died back in India and her family had to make an unexpected trip to India during the winter break. She was concerned she would not have time to prepare for the test over the break.”

I felt horrible. I had assumed the worse and had not taken the time to understand. I had “Pre-judged” her situation. When she was hurting and needed a kind word, she was met with harshness and indignation. She needed Jesus. She got a Pharisee.

While it was an epic fail for me as a teacher, it was also a great reminder of the importance of seeking to understand before making a sweeping generalization. It reminded me of the importance of a conversation.

While her backstory did not change the reality that she had to take test upon her return, it would have changed the way the message was delivered.

What if in this new decade, instead of being right, we chose to be compassionate as well.

What if instead of using Facebook to promote our political point of view, we had face to face conversations with those who had a different point of view; not to convince but to understand.

Instead of making assumptions that every democrat was…, every republican thinks…, every Muslim feels…, we actually sought to truly understand others as individuals and not as a collective.

Pray with me:

“Lord, I repent for Pre-judging others, for making assumptions without knowing truth, for seeing others through my filters. I repent of behaving like a Pharisee.

Open my eyes to see others through your filters.

In this new decade, let me seek to listen more than I speak, love more than I judge. Unite more than I divide. Let me seek to truly know people of different ethnicities, denomination, and political persuasions. Help me honor those with whom I may disagree.

Give me divine opportunities to have meaningful conversations with people who are different than me.

Increase my compassion for those who are hurting. Let them encounter the Jesus within me.

Let this new decade mark unity within the body of Christ. Let us be known as people who love. And then allow our unity to unite our nation.

Father, in this new decade let love abound! Amen.”