Growth in Forgiveness

Author: Hayley Moore | MTR 2012 | English Teacher at Kingsbury Middle School

Last week I attended my cohort’s Ultimate Victory Party. This is a celebration of fulfilling our four year commitment to MTR. My friend Rebecca spoke that evening of how deeply we have all learned joy from our time in MTR. I am reminded of James 1:2-3. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” I will not achieve perfect steadfastness this side of heaven, but I clearly see how the Lord used teaching in my life to produce a more unwavering, unshakeable foundation in me.

One of my biggest personal applications from teaching is my growth in forgiveness. Teaching necessitates it. The student who was disrespectful to a peer and saddened me yesterday will walk into my class 4th block; the student who tried my patience and personally offended me today will be in my classroom tomorrow morning. My faith is tested; my sin nature is stoked. However, I have learned that quickness to forgive keeps bitterness at bay. As a first year teacher, I possessed a lot more bitterness. Resentfulness is personality poison. Over time, I have become less easily rattled and more forgiving. I have become more unwavering, more steadfast. This is the Lord’s promise to me in James 1; tests produce steadfastness.

Of course, as a human, I often fail to count my trials as joy. 999 out of 1,000 times, I don’t mentally frame trial as the Lord’s refinement tool. I read verses like James 1:2-3 and think, “Man, I’m failing at remembering joy.” However, the gospel truth doesn’t condemn! “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

My time in MTR taught me trial is a guarantee. The Lord’s refinement of me is not contingent upon my joy. I get to experience joy when I acknowledge the work He is doing in me.