God is a good and forgiving God. His mercies are renewed to his people afresh every morning, and oh, how we rejoice! God’s people living in community with each other are called to imitate God, to love him and to love each other. Because we are fallen and imperfect people, not only do we sin against each other, but we also have trouble forgiving those who sin against us.
At Trinitas Christian School we work really hard at Christian community. Yes, we are a school and so academics are of the utmost importance to us, but we contend that we can’t carry on the business of academics or of schooling at all if we are harboring ill feelings against a brother or sister in this community. If we have sinned against another and need forgiveness, or if another has sinned against us and we need to forgive, community comes to a grinding halt—it simply won’t work anymore as God designed it to work until we resolve the issue with our brother or sister. Our practice, then, is to keep short accounts with each other so that we can live together in Christian community as a school family.
For us as a school family or school community the principle we look to is found in Matthew 18. In verse 15 of that chapter, Jesus tells his disciples that if their brother has sinned against them, it is their responsibility to bring it to his attention so that he might repent of his sin. Of course there will be some legitimate sins against us that we will simply cover in love and move on because we are imitators of Christ, but because we are fully human and nothing mixed with it, we can’t cover over every sin that way. When we have been hurt, offended, sinned against in a way we cannot simply cover in love, it is incumbent upon us to bring it to the attention of the offending party alone and not to fourteen of our closest friends and confidants beforehand. “Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother” (Matt 18:15). This is the school’s policy. We practice it with our students and teachers, and we ask our parents to practice it within the Trinitas community. The policy works not because it is a Trinitas policy, but because it is a Jesus policy.
Allow me to tell you what kind of wonderful parent community we have at Trinitas. On a recent weekday morning that appeared to be a precursor to a pretty routine day, a parent called out of the blue and asked to meet me in five minutes. When he came into my office, he didn’t beat around the bush, but got right to the point: “I am harboring some bad feelings about the school and about you, and here’s why…” He spent the next few minutes exposing my sin so that I could see plainly how I had wronged him. At the end, I had the difficult job of confessing and asking forgiveness, and he had the even harder job of extending mercy to one who had wronged him.
I share this story not as proof that God’s word is true—it bears witness to itself; it is truth. I share the story as a way of saying, yes, this is exactly what we are trying to do at Trinitas. This is Christianity at work. This is Christian community at work. And it didn’t happen because the board or the administration forced someone to do something they’d rather not do; it happened because that is the kind of mature and maturing parent community we have here. Trinitas certainly is not a church, but it is a place where Christian community is important. Thankfully, Trinitas parents take it very seriously, and as a result, like iron sharpening iron, we all grow in faith together.
Mr. Ron Gilley