Ephesians 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
As an elementary grade school teacher, I found a large portion of my time was not only devoted to instruction regarding subject content but also to respecting one another. Looking back, I think of the time constraints some of these lessons entailed and I wonder how many adults would be able to do what I/we request of our students. One case in particular will always stay fresh in my mind. The outcome was positive in this particular case, but I wonder how many adults would have been able to heal so quickly.
Flashback to my second grade classroom in 1997. One morning as my class entered the room with their usual enthusiasm for a fresh, new day, a “problem” student came up to me with a big smile, proudly displaying his brand new bracelet. I noticed the WWJD on it, remarked how nice it was and asked David if he knew what the letters meant. He looked at me as if I were absolutely out of it and replied, “Yeah! What would Jesus do?” I was elated that he knew and hoped I would see a change in his behavior that day. Well, in a few minutes he had walked over and said something that reduced another child to tears. I went over to reprimand him and request that he hand over the bracelet until he could sincerely apologize to Jonathon. I delivered the reprimand but noticed that the bracelet was not on his arm. I decided not to mention it and told him his recess would be taken away until he could sincerely apologize.
David stayed in at recess which was at 1:30 PM and made no effort to rectify the situation. School dismissed at 2:30 PM and time was growing short. I was so disappointed, but at 2:15 David requested that Jonathon and he go into the hallway with me so that he could apologize and ask Jonathon for his forgiveness. Yes!!!! David sincerely delivered his regrets for his meanness that morning, then they hugged, and Jonathon returned to the classroom. Then David looked up at me with a big grin and said, “Can I put it back on now?” Wow, I was blown away! He’d known all along exactly how his behavior was not in line with the WWJD statement on his bracelet. I hugged him and said, “Oh, yes! I’m so proud of you!” (By the way, their names really were David and Jonathon! Two fine biblical friends to say the least!)
Like David, I think we all know when we cross the line. Thank the Lord that He doesn’t put time limits on us and that He is patient. Out of the mouths of babes! He loves each one of us and we need to love one another as He loves us.