Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Abigail came to see me before school last Tuesday morning but to know why, you have to go back four days before to the previous Friday. On that Friday, in seventh period, we had taken our Gospels' Test # 2, and Abigail is a member of that class. When I graded her test over the weekend, I discovered a problem. It wasn't she did not know the material- she always does. It wasn't I suspected Abigail of cheating- she is breathtakingly honest. No, the problem was almost invisible and that was the problem. We had several banks of TRUE-FALSE questions, six per set, and I could not distinguish an Abigail t from an Abigail f. She used lower case and tended to put a little hook on the top of the f but truthfully, on half of her answers, I was not sure of her response. Abigail is a terrific student and very conscientious so I knew she assuredly knew the correct answer but my job cannot be based on guessing. On Monday when I called out grades, I called her to my desk to show her what she needed to fix and as always, she sweetly agreed. That brings us to last Tuesday morning.
As she stood by my desk in my empty classroom before school, Abigail, blurted out an apology.
"Coach, yesterday when you were talking to me, I rolled my eyes but I wasn't rolling them at you! Someone was staring at me and I was rolling my eyes at them. I would never roll my eyes at you!"
My reaction, although I hoped I masked it, was incredulity. Abigail is tremendously respectful young lady, the last person I would ever suspect of insolence. Confidentially, I had no idea of what she was talking about but that wasn't the issue. It wasn't that I was upset with Abigail; it was that Abigail was upset with Abigail and was having a hard time living with her feelings of guilt even though I would never consider her guilty.
Abigail, as you probably have perceived, is one of my favorite students, the same way her sister, Wendy, was for me last school year. We don't always see kids with tender consciences. I'm reminded of one of my favorite hymns, At Even' When The Sun Was Set by Henry Twells and Lowell Mason. The fifth verse fits Abigail perfectly, although I doubt many of my students could comprehend the old English vocabulary usage:
And none, O Lord, have perfect rest,
for none are wholly free from sin;
and they who fain would serve thee best
are conscious most of wrong within.
That fits Abigail to a T. In trying her best to please God, she is tremendously aware when she falls short, even if no one else is aware of the slip. In Acts 24, in making his defense before Felix, Paul states that,
I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men.
Abigail longs for that blameless conscience Paul referred to. She wants her life to be dominated with the true and void of the false. And she knows this without a doubt- we have to make sure the world can differentiate between the two in our visible lives as believers. We have to make it apparent.
Applicable quote of the day:
"A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience."
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Posted by Steve Hawley at 8:19 PM