Calvary Love (Teacher’s Edition)

October 20, 2007

(Adapted from Amy Carmichael’s poem, Calvary Love)

If I belittle those whom I am called to humbly teach, talk of their weaknesses as though I had none of my own; if I adopt a condescending attitude, forgetting that I am but a “jar of clay”, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I find myself characterizing my students by their lapses, “Oh, that’s what they always do,” “Of course, she always talks like that, he always acts like that,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can enjoy a joke at the expense of a student; if I can in any way slight them in conversation, or even in thought, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can speak an unkind word, give an unkind ‘look’ (a warning ‘look’ does not have to be unkind), or think an unkind thought without grief & shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can rebuke or admonish without a pang, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my attitude be one of cynicism, not faith, about one who has disappointed me; if I say, “Just what I expected” if a fall occurs, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am afraid to speak the truth, lest I lose ‘rapport’, or lest the one concerned should say, “You just don’t understand,” or because I fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other’s highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold on to decisions of any kind, just because they are my decisions, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I am soft to myself & excuse any irritability, attributing it to the ‘stresses of teaching’; if I do not by the grace of God practice love & self-control, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, while admonishing a student for the second (or twentieth) time, I can list his (or her) entire record of wrongs & feel my frustration rising with each reminder, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I take offense easily, or if I am easily provoked to impatience & anger, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I feel bitter toward those who judge me, as it seems to me, unjustly, forgetting that if they knew me as I know myself they would condemn me much more, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If souls can suffer alongside, & I hardly know it, because I am “busy doing something right now”, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I hold every suspicion of misconduct as fact; if I refuse to listen to a student’s explanation by saying, “Oh, I’ve heard it all before,” then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I love to be loved more than to love, to be served more than to serve, to be heard more than to listen, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can talk endlessly without allowing interruptions, yet freely interrupt my students when they speak, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If, in the course of the year, I grow particularly fond of certain students; if my fondness is based on their works alone, or if my fondness becomes favoritism, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the daily hearing of my students’ struggles callouses me so that I cease to pray for them, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I love only the students who make my day ‘easy’, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot uphold the rules with firmness & kindness; if I can never show grace in regards to the letter of the law, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can be content simply with my students’ outward compliance; if I can be content never to pray for their hearts so long as they are outwardly behaved, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I slip into the place that can be filled by Christ alone, wanting to make myself the first necessity to my students instead of leading them to fasten upon Him, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If my students’ burdens are not my burdens, too, & their joys mine; if I can justify indifference with an excuse about professionalism, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I can only look forward to weekends, holidays, & school breaks; if I can only think of joy outside of the classroom, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my students hesitate to ask it & turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I cannot teach & yet remain teachable, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

If I covet students other than those He has sovereignly placed in my care, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

That which I know not, teach Thou me, O Lord, my God, my Teacher.

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