The school year has ended, you’ve packed up your classroom, and turned in your grades and your keys.
Oh, and did you remember to forgive all those who trespassed against you?
This year there was the anonymous parent who kept leaving notes in your mailbox about how you could do a better job teaching.
There was the child with an emotional/behavioral disorder who bit you when you were trying to collect his assignment.
There was your assistant principal who gave you a lower than expected evaluation based on criteria you weren’t even aware of.
There was your fifth grade colleague who decided that when she had trouble with certain students, she’d just send them to your room as part of their punishment, without giving your warning.
And there was the state legislature who decided in their infinite wisdom that now your pay in attached to how well the worst of your students do on the state test.
I know you think that closing your classroom door on that last day in June is the end of it, but it isn’t. I know you’ve held onto all the wrongs that were done against you this past school year. And I know you haven’t yet forgiven them. And I also know that unforgiveness will color how you feel about your vocation and the coming school year.
You may be wondering why we should forgive someone who hasn’t asked for our forgiveness. It’s not just for the sake of the one in need of forgiveness; it is for us as well. We have no peace if we bear a grudge against someone. We only have turmoil, anxiety, and doubt. Forgive so that we can end the school year in peace and be ready to begin the new school year in peace.
Who do you still need to forgive from this school year?