One of my students, I’ll call her Marla, has come a long way. In the last year I have seen her blossom in confidence and imagination. I’ve seen her grow more secure in life and a little more bold. Not too much. But the right much. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see how she continues to grow.
She’s a star.
Really. She’s one of the stars in my Christmas musical. Which is really amazing, since a year ago, she was so timid she was scared to death to sing in a quintet. This year, she sings-dances-solos. It really has been a remarkable year for her.
And I’m very protective of her and of her growth. I was feeling nervous about the reaction to all this when the full choir sees her shine during full rehearsals… well, only nervous about one person. I’ll call her Beatrice the Bully.
I know she’ll be jealous.
I don’t want Beatrice to eat Marla’s progress. I don’t want Marla’s heart or spirit or umph to be crushed.
So, I took an offensive stand. I spoke to someone over her and said, “If Beatrice says anything to hurt Marla, even one thing, she will not be allowed to be in the musical.”
That someone over her is someone I enjoy. A friend. And she said something to me that I needed to hear. “Well, maybe I can prepare Beatrice so that she’s ready to see Marla in the spotlight. Let me talk to her and ease her in to the thought – instead of just going to her with a threat.”
She is responsible for both Marla and Beatrice. And she was thinking about how to be responsible for both their hearts. Even though both are my students, I was seeing Beatrice as the enemy. My friend was seeing her as someone who needs loving.
Same story. Take two.
A neighbor woke up in the middle of the night to find a woman trying to get into her house. Then the car. Something was going on with the woman. She was lost in her mind for one reason or another. She went to the next house, then the next, on down the street. While a family member called the police, this neighbor followed the lady. She didn’t want that stranger to get hurt.
And here I am this morning, thinking about loving my enemies… whoever my enemies might be. And how God loved us while we were enemies. His enemies.
I want to be bold in this. In my home. On the highway. With my students and my friends and my family. To care even when I feel threatened. To treat others the way I want to be treated.
To treat others the way God has treated me.
That's called grace.