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Potential over Past

By November 4, 2021SavED by Grace

Potential over Past

By Kylee Wray Mitchell

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It’s the beginning of the year, and you excitedly login for the first time since summer break to check your class rosters. You happily scroll through the list of names: 

“Oh! I taught his sister. Sweet family.” 

“YES! I got the third [insert last name] kid. I’ve had them all.” 

Then…you see it…and your stomach drops. You also got THAT kid. You know who I’m talking about: the “troubled” kid, the “always late” kid, the “he threw a textbook across the room once” kid, the “attitude problem” kid…the list is endless. But we ALL have had a kid (or five) that we weren’t excited to see on our roster.  

If we are being honest, it’s not just the kids. Sometimes our colleagues have a reputation that precedes them. Sometimes WE have stories that circulate about us. For some reason, it comes with the territory of teaching. 

You know who faced a situation similar to the one above? Ananias in the book of Acts.

Ananias had a vision in which God told him to travel to a street in Damascus and find Saul. No problem, right? Except Saul had more than a bad reputation, he had done horrific things. Acts 9:21 tells us, “And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?’” 

I can imagine Ananias’s face: “You want me to find…Saul? You want to work through SAUL!? Why HIM!?” 

I can honestly see the reaction. I’m certain there were many disciples to choose from instead. People who were loyal, and good, and already faithful followers. 

Ah, but that’s not always how our God works, is it? 

So, as the obedient man he was, Ananias went to Saul (not knowing for certain that Saul wouldn’t try to have him arrested or worse) and Ananias heals Saul’s sight. Saul is baptized and becomes a devoted apostle of the Lord. 

What if Ananias had refused based on who Saul had been? What if, because of Saul’s reputation, Ananias had denied God’s request? How often do we make judgment calls and miss someone’s potential because of what we know of them? 

Even though we are already into the school year, allow this to encourage you to wipe the slate clean for each of your students. Not just for the next day but every day. Try to forget the negatives they came in with. Try to let go of any negatives they have created in your room already. 

Look at them like Jesus does; see their potential. Be an Ananias. Try to remove the scales from their eyes. Remove the ones from your own. Pray for God’s sight. 

You never know how far a student can go if one teacher refuses to believe what they have heard (or already seen) and sees more. The road to Damascus might run right through your classroom.

My love to you all. ❤️

I am a high school English teacher in southern central Alabama. I am originally from a small town in north Alabama called Arab, but after meeting my husband in college, I never moved back. We have been married for 8 years and have 3 children—Luke, Caroline, and Lincoln. I have been teaching for 5 years now, and it is one of the greatest joys in my life.

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