Run, Refuse, Reconcile

“Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness – faith, love, peace – joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions, they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.” -2 Timothy 2:22-26 [MSG]

Jesus, running isn’t easy in this world. It seems like this is what I’m doing most of the time. But today I want to ask you, am I running away from childish ways and running to something greater than I am now? Do I have more faith than I did yesterday? Am I loving people better than I was last week? Can I say that I am passing on the peace you provide to others? Will I join up with those who take communication with you seriously, so that I might learn more of you in the process?

These days, I’m starting to adjust my focus on the new school year that is quickly approaching. “Running” is something I’m doing frequently when it comes to my job. It’s not the content that is the most difficult part of my job or really the part that keeps me running. It’s really the personal relationships with students that sometimes become strained and frustrating to maintain. But I know if I can be a teacher who is running toward maturity like Paul advises Timothy, I will be able to be one who is able to refuse to engage in petty disagreements and reconcile with the “bad kids” as well.

God, the refusal to argue is quite difficult in the world I work in. Students everyday want to challenge me, and in the beginning, they will test me to see how far they can push it. Silly discussions, ones that are pointless and not significant… are events I need to refuse to be part of. Being argumentative just to show the upper hand isn’t fruitful either. Listening gently and keeping my cool are oodles more helpful than raising my voice or getting into an argument with a student (or choosing to pick ALL the battles instead of just a few, which is sometimes what my perfectionist personality likes to do!). Lord, help me to be firm and patient with those students who will, no doubt, refuse to obey.

Father, allow me to be a person who desires reconciliation with others. As those students who choose to disobey come around, help me to have heart enough to give them a second, third, fourth (fifth, sixth, seventh…) chance. I ask that I would be the one to have mercy on them when they least deserve it. Impress it on my heart that these young ones are just caught in a trap, wanting to be free,  but are held captive by the enemy.

God, help me!

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