A Chance for Redemption
The gospel story of Jesus destroying the temple is at the forefront this week. For some reason, the imagery of Jesus being angry and overturning the temple is one that I can see very easily. In a book that I’m reading called, Virtuous Leadership, the author talks about Self-Control and wrath at the same time. He states that sometimes we have to get upset, and we have to share our disappointment about injustices that happen, and we must speak up about things that are wrong. That is how our conscience is developed. Often times, we are too quiet about the wrongs that we see, and we miss opportunities for growth; growth in justice, growth in courage and growth in self-control. These are virtues that we must hold onto and celebrate so that we can achieve magnanimity.
As with any school, we sometimes have issues with academic honesty. I was visiting with one of our teachers last week about an honesty issue that had revealed itself in class. The students in this class are required to read widely as they meet their independent reading goals. To say the least, they have a lot of reading to complete over the school year and they are on their honor to accurately complete reading reports about their accomplishments. Now, our reading teacher is very savvy, and she has a good detector built into her that allows her to determine when book reports are not completely accurate. This led to the conversation about honesty with me and later with the class. She was able to articulate to the class that she knew that some students were not being fully honest, and she expressed her disappointment. Within a few days, the impact of the discussion led to an honest e-mail exchange with a student that I’d like to share with you here. This student’s courage is something that I think we can all learn from, take a look:
“Dear Miss Boerner, I did not actually read the full book, The Hunger Games and I feel horrible… I took advantage of a very fair system you created because I was too self-centered to realize that being a fair, honorable, and trustworthy young adult is much more important than my grade. I started the book and got nervous about finishing a lot of books for my totals so I filled out a Big 5 without actually completing the book. I now realize that I’ve taken advantage of you and I’ve also made life more difficult for the people who have been 100% honest with their totals. I promise you that this was a one-time thing and I have not done this with any other books. This is a good life lesson that I have learned, which is that what people think of you and your character is much more important than a single grade in the grade book. If I could go back in time and change this I would easily take a four out of ten while being completely honest rather than a great grade while being dishonest. I would like to own up to my mistakes and apologize for what I have done. I apologize for making your job as our teacher more difficult. It’s much more important to me that you see me as an honest person rather than a kid who has a good grade in class. I’m very sorry for what I’ve done, and I hope I will eventually be able to earn back the trust that I’ve lost with you. I hope you will be able to find a way to forgive me.”
In our humanness, we lose sight of the importance of living within ourselves. We get caught up in the world and this often leads us to sin against God and others, it’s called selfishness. Now is the perfect time for all of us to do some reflection on our own honesty and when we recognize that we have fallen short of the ideal, we have an opportunity to make it right, to have courage and do the right thing.
Who do you need to connect with today to seek forgiveness and claim your chance for redemption?