by Doris Murdoch
I retired from teaching four years ago. Over the past four years, I have reminisced over the many experiences one could have with thirty-four years of teaching. When I think of parent conferences, I recall one where a grandmother came in to accuse me of being a racist. I listened to her concerns and then I positively assured her that I would never make decisions in the classroom based on the race of a student. I invited her to visit in the classroom during the school day to observe my actions, teaching techniques, and relationships with the children. I wanted her to see first-hand that I was not a racist. This openness immediately put her at peace. I don’t recall ever having anymore confrontations like this that year.
This could have been a bad situation if I had not acted as Jesus would have expected me to behave. Sincere listening took place. There was compassion for the grandmother’s concerns. There was an open invitation to be a part of the educational classroom experience. Jesus holds us accountable for our response to other individuals. He expects us to respond as He would respond.
When the Roman centurion (Luke 7:1-10) searched out Jesus for the healing of the centurion’s slave, Jesus could have turned him away. After all, he was Roman, not Jewish. Jesus listened and had compassion. Jesus respected the opinions of the Jewish elders and the leadership skills of the centurion. Most of all, Jesus honored the centurion’s faith, for the centurion knew that Jesus could heal the sick. Jesus was willing to go to the centurion’s home, but the centurion’s faith was so strong that he knew Jesus’ words would heal the slave. Jesus responded with, “Not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” Jesus set the example in this story for testimony, personal and in the faith of the centurion. When we have a story that will glorify God and share the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to proclaim it to others.