Author: The Transformed Teacher
As a teacher, June always brings mixed emotions. Sadness creeps in as students start to hug me tight and express words of sorrow over leaving me as the end of the school year arrives. A great joy overtakes me as I ponder and reflect on all the ways students grew, especially in how they grew to love each other.
I thought this June would be unlike the others, since from the very start of September I was already yearning for summer’s respite. One boy’s strong defiance, cursing at me under his breath, and frequent distraction inducing ways, made the year ahead seem bleak. Day after day one conflict after another peppered the classroom with chaos. His noncompliant behaviors invariably propelled me into a constant pattern of asserting myself as the authority. Round and round in circles we would go.
Prayer changed me. Not all at once, but over time. My heart softened towards the boy. Originally, my prayers were for the removal of my classroom’s thorn. But as I went to the Lord in prayer, I started to see my own depravity. I had let pride govern my actions more than I wanted to admit. I had been so intent on making the boy properly esteem me and my position as his instructor that I had failed to see what he really needed. He needed kindness. Sincere kindness. Kindness not dependent on him…or me.
My fair weather attempts had been meaningless, when anger, disappointment, and annoyance were most frequently communicated. Fortunately, we don’t go it alone as believers in Christ, for the Holy Spirit dwells within us, to lead, guide and empower us. A surrendered heart, and ears attuned to the Holy Spirit, can bring light to the darkest of situations.
The Holy Spirit convicted me of not reflecting Jesus in how I interacted with the unruly student. Kindness permeated Jesus’ life here on Earth, and as His follower kindness should permeate mine.
Evidence of Jesus’ kindness is lavishly spread throughout scripture. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry. And as if that wasn’t enough, He died on the cross. He took the punishment we deserve and offered us His righteousness. His every word and action is humbling, it eradicates the temptation for arrogance, and produces a desire to pour out the limitless love He has for us onto others.
Kindness can’t be manufactured, for it is a fruit of the Spirit. True kindness is more than an outward act; it’s an inward heart change. It transforms our character. It is a transformation of who we are. Kindness uproots selfishness. As a byproduct of our kindness, we experience great joy and deep freedom.
Joy is what I experienced this June. God had made something beautiful out of something ugly, for the tightest hugs and the one instigating the “I’m going to miss you!” chorus with the loudest voice, was the very boy that in September I wished to be rid of.
The Holy Spirit cultivates kindness. He grows it and gently leads us to use it, even when it is undeserved. Through His kindness to us, we have the privilege of becoming imitators of Christ. In seeking Him, we can be empowered to follow the directives of Ephesians 4:31 – 5:2, to live a life that is holy and pleasing to the Lord. It is my prayer that the body of Christ know more and more what it means to:
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 4:31-5:2
What could be taught to those who are hurting if we would pray wholeheartedly that the Lord make us kind?
Readers, Where can you demonstrate the kindness of Christ today?