Forgive us our trespasses…
From Matthew 6:12
While checking the Halloween candy sales, I ran into a young teacher. As she gathered treats for her students, my thoughts returned to the days before our class Halloween Party during my first year of teaching.
Three of my students, who’d distinguished themselves behavior-wise early on, had a terrible time throughout October. The little imps couldn’t keep themselves in line; they couldn’t keep themselves quiet, and they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. By Wednesday before our party, they’d pushed beyond my fairly minimal limits. That afternoon, I informed them that they would not attend our class party. Crestfallen, they moped in line on their way home that day. Thursday morning, they enjoyed the playground until they saw me. My presence must have reminded them that they’d be sitting outside the principal’s office the following afternoon. Their skips became slow walks and their smiling eyes clouded over as they focused on the black-top beneath their feet.
As I consider my own imperfections, I find myself moping like my wayward students who did their best to spoil Halloween for themselves that year. It was up to me to maintain an orderly classroom and to enforce appropriate rules. Still, I couldn’t help noting that my three outcasts were somewhat subdued the day before our party. By Friday morning, I hardly noticed them at all as they’d joined in their classmates’ cooperative efforts. An hour after lunch, as my three friends gathered pencils, paper and books for their trek to the principal’s office, my heart ached. “Do you know why you’re leaving?” I asked. Each one nodded. “What are you going to do about it?” I asked. “Be good!” they said in unison. With that, in spite of what I’d told them earlier, I led them back to their desks to join in the festivities.
Jesus made his feelings regarding forgiveness quite clear. How could I ignore them?
Merciful God, thank you for teaching us to forgive.
©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved