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Stupid Grace: Going Beyond Reasonable Limits

One of the greatest emotional, psychological, and theological challenges every one of us must face is our capacity to genuinely forgive and delight in the mastery of grace. 

In the last quarter of the school year, the opportunities for grace seem to multiply. Difficult decisions have to be made regarding next year even before this one is over, often creating a divided community that can quickly corrupt the best school culture.

Fatigue weakens the habits that enable excellence, allowing gossip, distraction, and dissension to become more pervasive among teachers, staff, and administrators. So we have to dig deeper, stay true to our noble calling, and be disciplined in grace. Here is a powerful story to illustrate.

 

 

He who fights too long against dragons 
becomes a dragon himself; 
and if you gaze too long into the abyss, 
the abyss will gaze into you. 
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Pain and conflict are inevitable, with some being inflicted through intentionally evil decisions. We all have the capacity and prejudice in us to perversely use authority as a dangerous weapon.

The redemptive story of Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins, as described in the video below, illustrates the deliverance that can happen when stupid grace prevails. 

 

Forgiveness is the fragrance
that the violet sheds on the
heel 
that has crushed it.
— Mark Twain

Stupid grace is beyond the limits of what others could possibly deem as reasonable. Some, like Mr. McGee, have figured out that it's even more stupid to hang onto the bitterness that takes root within the heart that incessantly remembers and reminds.

He didn't reach that higher plane instantly—it took work, prayer, and humility. He had to choose the voice to which he would yield. A decision that completely changed the direction of his life!

When we forgive, we loosen the shackles of hatred and anger to retain our freedom. Such grace is an act of faith, trusting that God is way better at judgment and justice. We reap what we sow, and the seeds of grace consistently yield the sweetest fruits.

It's not an easy journey, to get to a place 
where you forgive people. But it is such 
a powerful place, because it frees you. 
—  Tyler Perry

For educators to be most effective, we have to develop a distinct capacity for grace. The ability to see people through their potential rather than through the past.

Past mistakes.
Past sins.
Past broken promises.
They all want our attention, but they are a distraction from what we could be.
So we give those around us an “A” every day, allowing a grace-filled reset.

Be brave enough to plant seeds of grace, my friend, retaining the joy and freedom that makes educators so incredibly valuable. 

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