January 30, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on October 26, 2014, is provided by an anonymous public-school teacher.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Cultivating a Very Honest Relationship with the Lord”

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’” 

I teach sixth graders in north Philadelphia.   Something I probably shouldn’t enjoy as much as I do is reading apology letters.  Quite often, students will write me a handwritten note torn out of spiral notebook expressing their remorse for how they behaved earlier in class.  Whether it’s because they’re truly sorry or they’re just trying to avoid a consequence, these letters are so dramatic and cute that I can’t help but smile when I read them.  One of my favorite excerpts: “I am also sorry for disrupting the class. I know that this is serious. This is not little kid stuff anymore. This is middle school, and Middle School is the real deal.”  

Then there are students from whom I’ve never received an apology letter, because they follow all the rules: seated when told, silent when told, on-task when that is the expectation.  And while I appreciate these students so much, I don’t think I know them as well as the ones who leave their tightly folded letters on my desk for me to read after school.  These heartfelt confessions give me a deeper glimpse into their personalities and strengthen my relationships with them, because they don’t feel the need to uphold a certain image; instead, they demonstrate vulnerability by asking me to forgive them.  

I find myself trying so hard to be perfect in God’s eyes.  I assume that God wants me to be the student who silently sits in the front row and completes all her work.  But in order for me to truly be known by the Father, I need to resemble the student, or the penitent tax collector, who acknowledges his faults and asks for forgiveness.  This kind of relationship, though at times messy and unflattering, is what draws us closer to the One who wants to set us free from whatever is making our hearts heavy today.  Let’s be honest before the Lord; He knows our heart.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be totally and brutally honest before You and just enjoy this awesome relationship I have with You through Your Son Jesus.  Thank You.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 32

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