When I was in high school, my teachers never confirmed Facebook friend requests from students, but now that I’m in college, many of my favorite high school teachers have deemed it acceptable to be friends on Facebook. Most of the time, it’s a nice way to see what they are up to and understand how they are human, just like you. Sometimes though, you see attitudes and mindsets from them that you never saw within the four walls of the classroom.
I recently became friends with one of the most influential teachers from my high school career. This teacher taught me how to write an opinion piece such as the one you’re reading now — clearly, she made an impact. From her, I learned the art of writing, public speaking and appreciation of great literature. Beyond the language arts, I learned how to be tastefully humorous and how to maintain goals and deadlines. This teacher was well liked by many, and I know she touched the lives of more students than she may realize.
Little does she know, she is still teaching me lessons to this day. Over the few weeks that we’ve been friends, I’ve quickly learned that she is rather spiteful of Christianity — sharing posts that condemn Christians for supporting Christian businesses and boycotting those that are openly liberal, calling us out for condemning people who sin differently than us.
I was disappointed. I didn’t understand how someone I looked up to and learned so much from was able to have such different fundamental beliefs from me. I felt like in order for me to have been so impacted by her, surely we shared the same belief system. I took her shared posts a little personally — it seemed to me that her feelings about Christians were some form of attack on my character. I grieved a little because I felt that I must not have modeled a Christian life well enough that she could see God’s greatness through me.
But as I contemplated it, I realized that while it still bothered me that she wouldn’t be saved by Christ unless she were to have a change of heart, I could rest in understanding that we were different kinds of people. Just because all my other prided instructors and mentors were Christian and shared the same beliefs as me, did not mean that my teacher was any less of a great instructor.
Even though she doesn’t believe in the Biblical principles to which I hold true, she was still a mentor that helped me to navigate one of the most crucial times for growth in a young adult’s life. I cannot disregard the English and life lessons that I learned from her, simply because she doesn’t share the same religion as me. Through my disappointment, I found understanding, and ultimately realized that this is love. And that is what we are commanded to do — love.