In 8th grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Darnell. She was one of the sweetest, most patient ladies on the face of the earth. She had to be because I was in her class!
If she were to read this, she’d be very shocked to hear me saying nice things about her because I was a holy terror! I would disrupt the whole class by doing things to crack everyone up. For instance, one day I took a chunk of my hair, right in the crown, and twisted it until it stood straight up like Alfalfa, only way bigger around. I was able to do this due to the life threatening amount of White Rain and Aqua Net I used on a daily basis. I walked up to her desk, chuckling so as to get everyone’s attention, and asked her some stupid question. Naturally, the whole class erupted into laughter. She didn’t yell or slap me, as she most likely felt like doing, she just sighed and told me to sit down.
My friend and I would address her as “Mrs. Barnsmell”. Not behind her back mind you, but to her face. One day, as we were passing by, we stuck our heads in the door and said “Hey Mrs. Barnsmell!” Again, there was no rage, or a trip to the principal’s office (as there should’ve been) she simply said, “Do you see these grey hairs?” We most likely responded sarcastically something to the effect of, “who couldn’t see those!” Then she said, “Well then, you need to respect your elders.”
Sometimes we’d walk by and say something like, “what’s that darn smell? Oh hey Mrs Darnell!” Yes, we thought we were hilarious! Still, not one time did she yell or threaten to paddle us. She was wise enough to know that if she had shown any sign of anger, we’d been much worse! Bless her heart, I hope that deep down she really thought our sense of humor was funny, and didn’t go home and drink, cry, or take it out on her family. I highly doubt it though, because I truly believe she was a godly woman who was able to love difficult people. I’m so glad that, unbeknownst to me, God was using me to help Mrs. Darnell develop immeasurable patience.
I didn’t like most teachers. I wasn’t the easiest student to like either. For the most part, I just didn’t like authority. I was a rebellious little thing. Mrs Darnell may not have known it, but I respected her more than any teacher because she ruled her class with kindness. She didn’t act like she hated people like me, (you know, THAT kid) she was sweet even when we weren’t, and she always treated everyone the same. I may not have made an A in her class, but she taught me a lesson I could never learn from a textbook.
What a perfect example of Jesus’s love for us! No matter how badly we may behave, His love never changes, and He loves EVERY person the same! Even the ones that get on everyone else’s nerves. Even those that no one likes. Even those we may see as vile and disgusting. He loves everyone exactly the same. We can’t earn more of His love. We can’t move up in His ranks by being good, and we can’t be bad enough to cause His love to waver. His love is constant and true. It is, and always was. He IS love!
Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy. And now he shows me off—evidence of his endless patience—to those who are right on the edge of trusting him forever. Deep honor and bright glory to the King of All Time—One God, Immortal, Invisible,
ever and always. Oh, yes! 1 Timothy 1:15-19