So, I grabbed a couple of office referrals and began to write them up.In this moment, I was reminded of John 8:1-11 where a woman was caught in adultery and Jesus says to the men trying to condemn her that the one without sin may cast the first stone. One by one, they walk away, because as much as they hated Jesus, they were still convicted by the reality of their own wretchedness. And the One without sin – the One who alone has the right to condemn – displayed mercy, and said “Go and sin no more.”
I had the students stay at the end of class and watch as I wrote them up. Line by line. Word by word. I had them read what I wrote and take a couple minutes to take it all in. I told them their most likely consequence was suspension. At this point, tears streamed down their guilty faces.
I shared that the times in my life I’ve learned the greatest lessons haven’t solely been when I’ve had to pay for what I’ve done… but it’s been when someone who had the right to punish and hold something over on me relented and showed me extreme and transformative grace.
I spoke of the cross and Christ’s sacrifice. Of the wrath I deserved, yet He absorbed and the judgment that I have been forgiven of.
Then I told them in the same way that I was forgiven much, so I have forgiven them.
“Now go and don’t do this again” …and on the way out, I had them rip up their write-ups and toss them in the trash.
They walked out of the classroom together, side by side, one arm around the other… no longer divided by the issue that came between them. Instead, they were united in their redemption.