By Hannah Orr
I yelled at one of my students yesterday.
I don’t mean a stern worded lecture. I mean I completely lost my cool and snapped on a kid. This particular student tests my patience and pushes my buttons on a daily basis, and
ninety-nine percent of the time I keep it together. But I hadn't gotten enough sleep, my smart board wasn’t working the way I needed it to, and I was fielding questions from a parent whose child was home in quarantine. So when this student pushed one button a little too hard, he ended up on the receiving end of my rotten mood. When I finally calmed down a few seconds later, I felt terrible. You see, I’m a pretty good teacher. I love my students and I work hard every day to make sure they feel smart, loved, and valued. I’ve earned strong evaluations at every school I’ve worked at. Most days, I handle all of the stress that come with being a teacher with grace. But I’m only human, and sometimes I forget something important, or my lesson falls flat, or I yell at my students. And so often I define myself by these moments in which I fail.
Does it ever feel that way in your walk with Jesus? You seem like you have it all together. You’re walking through life with faith, hope, and love, being a stellar witness for the Kingdom. But then it happens – you slip up, you cross a line, you get angry, you drink too much, you give into bitterness, you go to that website, you post that comment on social media. Then the guilt washes over you, making yo
u feel like a failure, a hypocrite, a bad Christian. I know this feeling all too well. The reality is that no matter how strong our faith is, we’re never going to be perfect – after all, we’re only human. And when we’re in this situation, we have two options. We can dwell on our mistakes-- beating ourselves up and pushing away God, or we can own it--asking forgiveness of those we may have hurt, accepting God’s grace, and moving on. We’re not doing ourselves or anyone else any favors by focusing on our past failures; but, we can use those moments of weakness to remind us of our need for a Savior.
After I cooled off, I apologized to the student I yelled at. Then we moved on. I’m so thankful that my students never hold my human moments against me, forgiving me quicker than I forgive myself. And I’m even more thankful for a God whose unconditional love and forgiveness is never beyond my reach.