When I enrolled in a Religion 101 class at a secular, public university, I knew this day was coming. I had heard the stories, read the books, and seen the movies about the Christian student who has to sit back and listen to their professor bash the very thing that they have staked their lives on. I attended a Christian, private school from kindergarten to graduation. Everyday I was surrounded by strong, intelligent Christians who taught me my reading, writing, and arithmetic while also inculcating into my heart the truths found in scripture and demonstrating the love of Jesus to me. I went to a school where “Bible” was a class and chapel was a requirement. So this, being taught Christianity by a women who believes not in my God, is new to me.
As I sit in this class for 50 minutes three times a week, listening to you disrespect my God and poke fun at the most important truths in my life, I can’t help but get angry. I find myself with my arms crossed, my mouth terse and my head shaking. Anger is my first response, you can’t say these things about my Lord, you can’t fill your students’ minds with these lies, you must be stopped, I think. I can’t tell you the amount of sassy letters I’ve written to you in my head, or the number of times I’ve imagined storming out of your classroom. I have to do something, she can’t get away with this, right?
I apologize, professor, for my anger. Not because I agree with your words, or any of the claims you make, not because I think your intelligence merits my obedience, not because I want you to like me, but because THAT is not what being a Christian is about.
I could storm out, I could argue with you, I could do all sorts of things. But I’m not going to.
You’ve heard it all before, I know I am not the first Christian to come and sit in that room with you and I won’t be the last. I know you’ll have plenty of good come backs to anything I say or any questions I ask. But I’m not going to fight you because that is not the love of Jesus.
If I show you anger, if I show you contempt, then I am doing nothing to further the Kingdom of God and nothing to prove you wrong.
Christ is love.
So that is what I am going to show you. I am going to show you the love of Jesus whether you like it or not. I will not agree with what you say, I will not change my mind based on anything you teach us, but I am called to respect authority, and I will love you.
I am going to smile at you when you walk into class, I might even laugh at your corny jokes because that is exactly what Jesus would’ve done.
When Christ lived on this earth, He faced a whole lot more persecution and slander than I get from you in class. Did he fight back? Did he yell? Scream? No.
When Jesus hung on His cross, He was ridiculed, tormented, and mocked. He was beaten, tortured and taunted.
“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” (Luke 23:35)
Not only could Jesus have saved Himself in that moment, but with a single call He could have summoned an army of 10,000 angels to come alongside Him. But did He? No. Jesus offered humility and grace and took the abuse because He knew that in three days He would leave the tomb that they put Him in and receive greater glory than they could imagine.
Professor, I have some news for you:
NOTHING YOU CAN SAY WILL CHANGE WHO GOD IS.
You can defame His name if that’s your game, but YOU do not have the power to change who HE is! YOU do not have to believe in Him, but He is still here. YOU do not have to accept the news of His death and resurrection but it still happened. YOU do not have to submit to His all powerful authority, but HE is still the GOD of the UNIVERSE. He is God and you cannot change that.
I am sorry that you don’t know God like I do. The greatest love you could ever imagine comes from our Creator and He is so desperate to know you. To be in communion with the Lord God Almighty and to be in a relationship with Him is joy that I cannot explain. Even if you do not believe in Him or accept His word, YOU are still His child and YOU were on His mind that day as He said “it is finished”. I wish that you could see that. Oh, how your life could be so radically transformed! But, I can’t make you accept something that you refuse to believe, and that is your decision. But just know, the Lord God, Creator of the Universe, the One who made you, loves you and wants a relationship with you, and until you see that, I will be here, sitting in your classroom, showing you the love of Christ that He so desperately wants to give to you.