Were We Once So Different?

Were We Once So Different?

After a month of moving into the role of Vice Principal, there has been a great learning curve; after all, my official title is Vice Principal of Student Discipline and what a title to have. I even once tried to pitch changing it to Vice Principal of Student Conduct; in short, the response was to call it what you want; the result is the same, you handle student discipline for grades 9-12, which is the entire school.  

I love my job and where the Lord has brought me specifically. Now it is not so much that I love disciplining students in terms of assigning detentions, suspensions, etc., but there is a shift in dynamic that I can bring in as the new administrator. As I walk the hallways, I still feel some tension, the awkwardness of how students think about me without knowing me. Even more so, the uncomfortable feeling that develops when a student must walk into my office and meet me for the first, second, third time, etc.

As I come in each day and run my report and gather the list of students to see for the day, I pull up their files and read the referral I come across. Sometimes I read them and think to myself, why do this? Why make these decisions? Why continue this path after we spoke about this type of incident several times? The Lord constantly reminds me of the same conversations that He has had to have with me and still does at times, and the grace that has been given to me. There are times in my life when grace is given, and I am redirected with conviction and put back on task, and there are times when I have had to have discipline in my walk with the Lord.

Even more so, the Lord reminds me of when I was a student. Was I so different? Did I walk the finest line in school, was I a good student but tended to do things that were not aligned with the code of conduct? I said to myself, “okay, okay Lord, I see where you are going with this; grace-grace-grace needs to exist within my role.”

I now strive to make these relationships with students outside my office. These relationships are vital so that when it comes to meeting inside my office, I can help students understand who I am and what I believe in as a man of God. I have understood that sometimes grace can be shown, not because I am weak as an administrator but because I remember what it was like to be a high school student. The Holy Spirit has come to help me understand that there are times when I do not have to give them what they deserve because of the grace I have been able to experience in my walk with the Lord. 

Paul takes a similar principle and has Titus reminding the Cretans to use it in application in Crete in their treatment of others.   
Titus 3: Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Our response is to be, as it says, peaceable and gentle, showing humility to all men despite their shortcomings or the position they hold. It is not so crazy to think that some of the people we know or of the world can be reclaimed by the Lord; if some of us are not living proof of that, I am not sure what is. As I am sure many can reflect on our old state of mind or even the older man’s actions we once were in and what people often thought or could declare about us. However, usually, our sentences of testimonies include the transitional clutch phrase “but God” countless sentences or stories in my life, my family’s life, etc. contain that phrase today, and therefore it is always a steady reminder that I was once living those same ways, but God.  

Guzik says remembering this work of God builds four things in us.
· First, gratitude for how God changed us.
· Second, humility, as we see that it was His work that changed us.
· Third, kindness to others in the same place.
· Finally, faith that God can change those still in that place.

When we serve to further the Kingdom of God, are we applying grace to those many of us represented? Are we under the complete comprehension that our current standing is not by anything of ourselves or works which we could bring to the table of the Lord? It was not a sinner’s prayer or coming to the altar, indeed not baptism, although great symbols of a profession of faith; His mercy alone saved you and me.

We are heirs of His through the Holy Spirit He poured into us through the work of Jesus Christ. He is always the provider in which we receive from Him, and through that understanding, our outpouring of fruit, love, and the gospel should flow.

So, I ask, are you peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men?
Frank D