I was a teacher for a while in public schools. My student teaching experience was in an affluent community comprised of white, Jewish and students of international origin. The kids were all descendants of doctors, lawyers and community pillars of some sort or other. My teaching experience was in a district which was predominantly low-income, one parent (grandparent, that is) families.
People used to ask me, “which was harder to teach at?” Honestly, neither was any more difficult than the other. This usually surprises folks, especially the ones with certain preconceived notions of how black students (because not all black students came from Africa, people!) compare in behavior to white students.
So…why was there no difference? you may ask. I can sum it up in a word: entitlement.
Both groups, believe it or not, have major sins of entitlement. They think that because they might have had a relative enslaved by someone else that they’re owed something, even though they know nothing about this supposed relative. They think that because they came here from whatever international country and their parents are operating a lucrative business that they are to be treated preferentially. I think that because I haven’t had sex with a boy that God owes me something for my obedience.
As I was talking with a friend of mine last night, I described my utter frustration that certain friends of mine, seemingly once strong in the faith, have (again, seemingly) left it all behind to pursue having a boyfriend. This is incredibly frustrating to me because, in my sin, I have desired to do sinful things with guys the last three nights in a row, even going as far as to set up meetings with these people.
Would I have actually crossed physical lines? I’m not entirely sure. But I went far enough to set up meetings. And I never did follow through because they ALL canceled on me.
Aside from having my pride wounded slightly from being rejected across the board for the last three evenings, I see God’s hand working in keeping me from my own sin and stupidity. I even see his mercy in things like the migraine headache I had yesterday that was only curbed after three extra-strength Excedrin Migraine caplets and whose stomach-ache never did abate…not until 2am this morning.
And I look at all of this and simply wonder…why? Why was I spared getting into trouble? Why wasn’t I allowed some fun, as others seem to be?
Now, I know that sin, while fun, has consequences. And I know that in asking these questions, I will seem to be looking a gift-horse in the mouth, something I, apparently, given American folklore, should never do. But I think there is biblical precedent in standing in wonderment at the mercies of God. “Who is man that you are mindful of Him?” the psalmist asks (Psalm 8:4), and I think my asking “why” is along these lines today.
Still, the old man inside of me–the man that has no interest in Christ–seems to resent this mercy lavished by God on me. He wants to wallow in sin and be left alone.
But there is another force at work: the force of God’s sanctifying power that causes me, in Christ, to hate sin. I am grateful that not only is this power outside of me, but that I am being changed to welcome it more and more.
I’m glad I did nothing to start my relationship with Christ…and I’m glad I can do nothing to lose it.