The Lesson: Eli Has Trouble Forgiving
On the third day of school, Eli’s history class had a review test from the year prior. Eli was happy to have remembered everything, but she wasn’t surprised; history just came naturally to her.
But the next day, she was called to the teacher’s desk and Mrs. Lafayette told her with a what seemed like a nasty smile, “You and John, who sits right beside you, had the same answers.” Eli didn’t get it at first, then realized she was being accused of copying off of John. Eventually, under pressure in the principal’s office, John confessed to copying off of Eli.
Mrs. Lafayette was extra nice to Eli for a week or so, but Eli was stung. She had always gotten straight A’s and was proud of her grades. She was shy and didn’t excel at much else, like socializing and sports. She felt Mrs. Lafayette should not have accused her, and once she had, the very least the teacher could do was apologize. Weeks later, Eli still couldn’t look at
the teacher during class, or when she did, it took everything she had not to give dirty looks.
What Should Eli Do?
Eli should (rate the answers; the best answer would be #1; the least likely answer #4)
- do nothing. The Bible says to respect authority. Therefore we should never question a teacher, and it’s our Christian duty to brace up for whatever happens.
- keep giving dirty looks and trying to get under the teacher’s skin. Students have very little power, but they can get justice in subtle ways if they persist.
- forgive the teacher but don’t say anything. Staying angry at Mrs. Lafayette is hurting Eli more than it’s hurting the teacher, because often the accused doesn’t even know the person was mad in the first place. However, it’s pointless to try to share feelings with a teacher.
- forgive the teacher, and then find a good time to share her hurt feelings. Feedback helps teachers know individuals better, which is hard when there are so many kids surrounding her.
It usually hits kids very hard when an adult makes a mistake. Adults ought to apologize when they do, especially to the children who look up to them. But the fact is they sometimes don’t. Just about anyone would say that Eli has a right to be angry. We all have the right to throw open our refrigerators and fling food all over the kitchen. That doesn’t mean it will serve our best interests.
Forgiveness is sometimes a leap of faith, telling yourself, “I’m going to let this go now,” and then trying to stick to that game plan. It isn’t always easy, but lack of forgiveness can cause sleeplessness, indigestion, and health problems. Proverbs 17:22 says: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Most Christian Response:
Eli should (4th option is best): forgive the teacher, and then find a good time to share her hurt feelings. Feedback helps teachers know individuals better, which is hard when there are so many kids surrounding her.
This devotional is a great way to bring up the topic of forgiveness with your children’s church students–and in a way they can relate to. Do you think your children’s church class will be able to relate to this lesson and contribute to the discussion? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.