At LCS we have recently changed our health insurance plan to one that is actually much better and more thorough than what we had previously. My only issue is that they perform a health screening and tell you more defects than you ever wanted to know about yourself. The real problem isn’t so much finding everything that’s wrong but rather all the effort that goes into mending those wrongs.
In the past year or so I have found out that I have a bit of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux. Just with acid reflux alone I'm not supposed to eat tomatoes, citrus, coffee, tea and a host of sinister foods. No tomatoes! That rules out the only dish I can cook (spaghetti) and half the restaurants in Lakeland. Give me a break and pass another slice of pizza - and maybe a dose of Prilosec.
Now when you consider the blood pressure and cholesterol issue forget the list of thing you can't eat - that would be longer than Ms. Oncu's senior level essay; you are now on the list of things you can eat - which is probably shorter than one of Mrs. Green's essays (K4 if you were wondering). The diets in the gulags of Russia were probably more adventurous than what I can consume. Trying to stay healthy by maintaining low blood pressure, cholesterol, and rid the cursed acid reflux would only lead to a certain and horrible death by starvation. So what have I decided to do you may ask? Well, that's easy...like any good American, don’t change a thing and medicate.
Why Is This Relevant?
Now what does this have to do with Christian schooling? Probably not much, but here's an attempt. A couple years ago I had a student who had a backpack so heavy laden with books that he looked like an overgrown turtle from Faith’s Forest. I asked him why he didn't use his locker and his response reminded me of the list of things I can't eat. He carried all his books because he was afraid of displeasing a teacher by being late to class.
Later on I thought how often our lives are lived with such a strategy - so afraid of messing up, displeasing those around us, even displeasing God himself we walk around with a list of things we can't do instead of doing the one thing were supposed to - love! Love God, love others, and yes love even ourselves. Instead of love, we create a list. How much easier it is to try to live the Christian life, either as a student or as an adult, with a list of “don’ts” rather than risk the only commandment of love. Love a risk? Sure! Transparency and humility were thrown out of our nature as quickly as the apple core was thrown to ground in Eden.
Sometimes as Christians I believe we think not making any mistakes is our spiritual calling. Instead of the cross becoming more and more necessary, our own petty righteousness becomes our focus and in the process blurs the cross. The church has been built by very flawed individuals, and will continue to be built by very flawed individuals who don’t just see their need to be good but rather see their desperate need for redemption.
So to wrap this up, instead of living life like an acid reflux diet list of "thou shalt not’s" and hauling around a 30-pound backpack so we don't make any mistakes let's try to emulate, as a school and body of believers, the One who conquered our helplessly selfish nature with grace and most importantly - love. The weight of sin and the burden of guilt have both been paid. We have been given a hope and a future. Now it’s time to live like it.
Bill Riley teaches secondary math at Lakeland Christian School. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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