I work in a public high school and, while our kids for the most part aren't terrible, a large number of them do have behavioral problems. Since I'm not a certified teacher, I don't normally have my own classes. This semester, however, I was assigned two non- teaching classes that are mine.
My first class is large but very well behave. My second class is small and . . . well . . . not so very well behave. At times, some of the students can be very difficult and very trying. As a result, I enjoy my first class but don't enjoy my second class as much. At times, I can get very annoyed with them.
Lately, I've been focusing a lot on learning about Father's love. I'm learning that his love for me is not determined by my behavior. He doesn't love me when I'm good and then withhold his love when I'm bad. His love for me never changes. It's a constant that I can always count on.
Because of the differences in my classes' behavior, I was tending to treat them differently. Our educational system is part of the world system and, for the sake of order and safety, rules must be enforced. Whenever necessary, I have to deal with discipline problems but what I'm learning is that true love is not affected by poor behavior. Father is showing me this truth in a small, very practical way.
If there is anything teenagers love more than getting in trouble, it's food . . . especially free food. A couple of weeks ago, I bought some lollipops and gave them to my first class but hesitated about giving them to my second class. This week, I bought some chocolate candy and gave a piece to each of my students in my first class but decided I wasn't going to give any to my other class. After all, I didn't want to reward their poor behavior. Father, however, wouldn't let me get away with that. He gently showed me that love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8) He is love and he doesn't reward those who behave well and withhold his love from those who don't behave as well.
Following his example, I decided to give to each class equally. Instead of rewarding good behavior, I chose to give because I love and that change in attitude has made a major difference in me. Will this affect how those students behave? I don't know but probably not so I'm giving freely with no expectations. I'm not trying to manipulate their behavior through a reward system. I'm just learning how to love with no strings attached.
I'm my Father's daughter and he loves me unconditionally. Therefore, his love is compelling me to also love others unconditionally. I don't have to withhold love because he doesn't withhold his love from me. I'm free to love with no expectations. This is an exciting way to live because giving up expectations frees us from the bondage of disappointment.
This is still a new way for me to live and I'm really just in the kindergarten stage of this lesson. However, I do know that Father has begun a work in me that he intends to complete. As I grow in understanding that he freely gives his love, I'm now free to to go and do the same.