I’m a follower of Christ and work in the public education system. I’ve been struggling to integrate my Christian beliefs with the social and legal requirements of my job for most of my professional life. For many years, I felt like an island of faith in a sea of human secularism; all around me are sharks, circling and waiting for me to ‘step out of line’ with my faith.
I’ve had in-depth discussions with co-workers about faith in general and Christ in particular…but it is rare when either side begrudges a point or accepts an argument. The humanists believe that either, 1) there is no God and anyone who believes in one suffers from a mental disorder, or 2) there is something out there, but it is so isolated from our understanding. But maybe if we’re ‘good enough’ then we’ll end up in some kind of ‘heaven.’
As for my students, it’s illegal for me to enter into conversations with them on the subject. The range of topics covered in my class is vast, but we always have to stop short at the point of religion and/or faith as a source for a particular moral code of decision making.
So, how do I serve both Jesus and the public education system? I remember the scripture verse about serving two masters…’you will hate the one and love the other.’
The solution, or should I say my solution is to speak truth in love to the people around me. My solution is to live out the mission of Jesus as best as I can, every day, all the time, and in every situation. I want to be ‘salt and light’ to those around me. As we all go through life, we run into difficult situations…these situations can generate anger, envy, worry, and/or fear. My goal is to be a representative of Jesus. I want my students and peers to see something different about me and how I respond to the world around me. I want my students and peers to listen to my views about various topics and wonder, ‘why does that sound so different, and why does it make so much sense?’
No one is ever going to be argued into the Kingdom.
What we can do is serve as role-models for a better way of living. We can live out the promise that we won’t have a perfect life; but we can choose how to respond to that life knowing that there is a greater plan, we’re a part of that plan, any situation can be used for good, and we know how it’s all going to end.
Build real relationships with people. When they know and trust you, they will value your words and actions. They will see Christ in you. They will ask about it when the time is right for them and the Spirit moves them…and then you can give testimony to the Glory of God.
Jerry Borth, M.Ed, NBCT