Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Teacher's Pain

In seventh grade I had a teacher whom we, as a class, destroyed. We made his teaching experience very painful, and after that year, his first year of teaching, he never taught again.

He moved back to Iowa, took a job in a grain elevator, and was later crushed by a truck in that job. His children grew up without a father. His wife became a very young widow. His mother had to mourn her son.

And it was because we (and I was a ringleader in this) had purposefully organized ourselves to drive him out of our school. I've never seen anything more evil.

But in the midst of our torment of this teacher, I could tell that he was more pained by our (my) refusal of the gospel that he offered than by the effect our treatment had on him. And the memory of his concern for me followed me for years and was eventually a large part of what led me to the cross. His and his family's loss was very much my gain!

Recently I published an article about that school year in the Journal of Christian Education. Many of this teacher's relatives have read the article. While it was written in large part to honor him for his sacrifice for me, it is still hard for them to read of the torment that he went through at our hands.

When we send our words out how little control we have over who they reach and how they are received!

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