Sunday, April 26, 2015

She Asked Me to Forgive Her!

Last week my students took their final exams while I was at home trying to recover from the threefold onslaught of malaria, an upper respiratory infection, and an ear infection. I was really bummed not to be with them, and very eager to see them when I came back to work on Monday. 

However, when I asked my P4 students how exams went, a couple students were quick to pipe up that some of their classmates had ‘copied’ (or cheated) on their exams. My heart fell with the prospect of disciplining them, and I talked very seriously with them for a while. Then I told them they had one day to come and report themselves to me before I started investigating myself to find out who it was. The following day, 3 of my students admitted to me what they had done. I was glad they had the courage to report themselves, though I realize the fear of their classmates reporting them probably had something to do with it too! I disciplined them accordingly and moved on with my lesson.  
At the end as the kids were leaving for the day, I was surprised by one of the guilty girls approaching me privately. She’s one of the ones I’ve been worried about for a while since she tends to have a rather hard attitude, and does not usually respond to either correction or even affection. I’ve been praying for her for at least 2 years now, that Jesus would soften her heart and let His changing love settle deep. 

So that day, I was definitely taken aback as she very humbly came and softly said, “Teacher Melanie, I’m very sorry I copied on your test. I would really like you to forgive me.” Then, and even now tears still spring into my eyes as I remember her posture and request. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and said, “Of course I forgive you. I love you very very much.” She looked up into my eyes, smiled, and said, “I love you too.” 

HALLELUJAH!!! PRAISE JESUS!!! He is so good! He hears and answers and works miracles in the hearts of His children! 

I have spent so much time this term teaching my children about forgiveness. It is not a common thing here to ask someone to forgive you, and I have taught, modeled, and helped my children to do it. But this is the first time I have witnessed one of my kids has spontaneously reach out to someone they have wronged for forgiveness. To see Jesus’s truths come to life in my kids is the single greatest joy I have ever had as a teacher. I am so grateful that I get to see Him working in them! 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Choosing forgiveness

Each day I fight for forgiveness all over again. A month ago, my backpack was stolen from a locked car in a guarded lot during a quick shopping trip. A thousand 'what if’s' and 'I should have’s’ have gone through my head, but what’s passed is passed. Still, I have struggled each day to forgive the ones who robbed me, as each day I look for something, only to remember it was in the backpack. So many small things that to him would hold little value, but for me are an unending frustration.

During that first week, Jesus's grace abounded, and as I went through the motions of replacing the two biggest items: my laptop and my passport (!!), I was surrounded by His supernatural peace. I looked for the miracles and found them. I hadn't carried my Moody Bible this time (which I always do!). At the last minute, I left my cross-stitch at home. Somehow, the thieves missed my iPhone which was in the seat pocket under the croissants which they also stole. The irreplaceable things, Jesus saved, and I lost only what could be replaced. 

Though in a land where nothing comes easy, it's been quite the hassle trying to do so. I can't just drop by Wal-mart for more wart remover, or makeup, or a new iPhone charger, or a laptop case. so I grieve the time wasted and the effort spent trying to replace things. 

It was with some alarm that I realized after a couple weeks that the seeds of bitterness had been planted in my heart. And I know the devastation bitterness brings. So I confess, and I plead for grace and healing. And each morning I again have to choose to forgive. This stranger whose face I will never know must still be forgiven. Not for his sake, but for mine. I choose to release him from that debt, and pray for his salvation and blessing, for in that I know my own healing will come too. 

Friends, this battle isn't easy. I know how much Satan would love to use this to steal my joy, and I am fighting back. But I need your prayers! For unconditional forgiveness, for eyes to see what is most important, for Jesus' own grace and peace, and for victory in the moments of frustration.

Thank you for praying! I know Jesus hears and answers each one!