Saying Goodbye to a Bible Class Teacher
This week we said goodbye to a dear lady from our congregation. She has passed on into Paradise to await the return of our Lord. She was a strong woman who fought her cancer courageously until the end, without fear of death, but rather showing love for her family and friends during that time.
I was heartened to see how deeply my son felt over this loss. He just simply could not understand why going to Paradise is a good thing when he will miss her so much. He said, “I miss her hugs.” He cried gently, not wanting others to see his tears, but they were there.
He remembers her because she always spoke so kindly to him in congregation, she gave him hugs and told him how handsome he looked on Sunday mornings. She taught the 4 and 5 year old Bible class for many years. She taught many children to say the Fruit of the Spirit. Jonathan remembers the verse because of her.
Training Up: The Fruit of the Spirit for Discipline
I used the teaching she taught him as a spring board for teaching him how to live them. In our home you will often hear me discipline a sassy mouth by saying “Are you showing the Fruit of the Spirit?” If the answer is no, we go through the list and identify which part of the Fruit he is not showing, then talk about how to try again with his words while working toward having a better heart.
In fact, just this morning I used this example to discipline. My little genius is a perfectionist. If ANY THING is not to his liking he declares it a “Failure”! This makes for a problem when I as a homeschool mom often create my own worksheets, especially for Bible lessons. Today he was filling in a Bible family tree. I find the genealogy of the Bible both fascinating and helpful in understanding the plan of God from creation to Christ.
So this year, Little Man and I are building a Bible Family tree. I’ve broken it down into workable parts like from Adam to Noah, Noah to Abraham, Abraham to Jacob’s 12 son’s, etc. Today he was working on Noah’s lineage. He soon discovered that mama made a mistake. SHOCKING! Rather than saying, “Hey mom, I think there might be a mistake on this family tree page.” He screamed, “You’re a FAILURE!”
Oh wow! I really tried to hold my cool. I know I’m not perfect and often make mistakes, that came as no shock to me. But to hear a 9 year old child disrespectfully declare me a FAILURE, well, that was just a bit more than my 40 year old self could take.
I wanted to discipline with the ROD OF DISCIPLINE, Proverbs 13:24. But instead, I gently used the Word of Truth, by showing him that his words, while true, were quite unkind. Therefore he was not showing the Fruit of the Spirit.
I explained that unkindness does not show love, and the need for everyone to be perfect does not show patience. I taught him that screaming to me that I am a failure does not exhibit self-control and it certainly doesn’t display joy.
I asked him if speaking to me in such a manner created a joyful experience and I went on to say that it doesn’t make my heart feel peace. I explained to him that he was NOT displaying the Fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.
Too often we stop there in this scripture. We just teach the listing of the fruit. But, let’s study further… In Verse 25,
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.“
You see, if we want to dwell in God’s Spirit we must walk in the Spirit. Now keep going into chapter 6, remember it was man who separated the chapters and verses in scripture, not God.Here Paul’s writing continues to discuss the living in the spirit aspect of dwelling in God. Verse 8 of chapter 6.
“For he who sows to the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.“
You see it isn’t enough to quote the Fruit of the Spirit, you must learn to live the Fruit of the Spirit, it needs to become the fruit that we sow, for in reaping the Spirit’s Fruit we shall reap everlasting life. That means an eternity with God.
Training up a child is hard work. It’s not easy. Every day we are faced with challenges which lead us on a path that can either promote positive change in our child or negative ones. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for the Rod of Discipline to be used.
If, after such explanation as is above, he still does not treat me with respect then there will be other consequences to his behavior. He needs to and will in his life learn to obey his parents and honor them, because that is a commandment from God in both the Old Law and the New Will of Christ.
It’s my and Beloved’s responsibility to teach him to do that. I know if he never learns to respect and honor us appropriately then he will never learn to respect and honor God his Heavenly Father. That is our ultimate goal for his life.
The Fruit of Spirit as Comforter
Which brings me back to him saying goodbye to his Beloved teacher. Even during the time of sorrow and loss, I can remind him gently of the Fruit of the Spirit, I remind him that she loved him and he her. I remind him that she treated him with kindness and gentleness and he did her. I remind him that she is at peace, God’s peace and that is what we too seek.
You see the Fruit of the Spirit can be a guide to teach and a guide for comfort because this fruit is of God. The master teacher and comforter.
*Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.