As I start every new school year, I try very hard to not discuss my class list with other teachers who are familiar with my individual students. It’s tempting to want to have a little inside information in order to mentally prepare and strategize, but I have the eternally optimistic view that kids who have struggled in former years with academics, behavior, social issues, or something else can always change. Besides, I know all too well that if I harbor bias toward students even before I meet them, my bias can become a self-fulfilling prophecy based on how I interact with them.
So, every student gets a fresh start in my class. And if I do say so myself, I’ve seen students with a “tarnished reputation” do a complete 180 turnaround and become model classroom citizens while in my care. I am convinced it’s due to the power of unconditional love, no condemnation for past behaviors, and also TONS of prayer!
Did you know that Jesus doesn’t condemn you, even if you haven’t been a model citizen? There is a story in the Bible that illustrates this perfectly. It’s found in John 8:4-11 (NLT):
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Acceptance, not rejection. Forgiveness, not condemnation. A filthy slate wiped clean. And this is exactly what God says about our sins today: “Neither do I [condemn you]. Go and sin no more.” I think we often have a much different idea of how Jesus responds to our sin, but why would He have a different response to us today than He did for this woman? Well, He doesn’t!
One last verse on the subject:
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1, ESV)
Yesssss! No condemnation! Say it out loud: NO CONDEMNATION! Shout it! NO CONDEMNATION! If you feel condemned today, throw it off! Jesus loves you, accepts you, and forgives you of all sin.
Happy December 12th!
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