It happens every year or two for teachers: the dreaded teacher evaluation. During this time the principal or other supervisor comes into the classroom with a pad of paper and write down everything that he or she observes. On that day, the teacher stands a little straighter in the front of the classroom, and, having warned the kids that the principal is really coming to check on their behavior for a week or so, begins the lesson. After the evaluator leaves, the teacher breathes a sigh of relief and relaxes knowing that the whole ordeal is over. Except, that’s changed, at least where I used to teach. Evaluators can come in at any time in a process called a walk-through. It’s just a short look at the classroom, where, if things are clicking like they should, the teacher may not even notice the evaluator in the room. The reminder that an evaluator, or even guests, might show up at any minute, is a reminder that teachers should always be on task.
Teachers may not look forward to either the class long evaluation or the walk-throughs, but they are a necessary part of education. As followers of Christ, we look forward to the return of Jesus. We understand God’s patience, but we look forward to that time when He comes again. Amid all the speculation of when He’s coming and what’s going to happen when Jesus returns, Peter reminds us that the hope of a return has implications for everyday living. “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” (2 Peter 3:14)
In other words, followers of Christ, get a life that honors Christ each and every day. We don’t have an evaluator who checks our life occasionally and decides that we get to continue living, or even continue living as a follower of Christ. God isn’t going to send us an eviction notice if we don’t live perfect lives. We have a God who loves us enough and gives us the grace and the strength to live for Him each moment. The evaluators who check us out and judge us are the people of the world. They judge us not in the love of God, who wants us to succeed in our walk with Him, but in the critical spirit that believes that we will fail. And here’s the truth. We will fail. The question is, how do we do with our failure. I think our reaction to failure says more about who we are as followers of Christ than leading a perfect life.
When I fail, do I give up and wallow in my sin, or do I seek God’s mercy? When I fail do I let my life be filled with bitterness and anger, or do I let God’s grace overwhelm me? We will never be sinless, at least on this side of heaven. As we seek God’s forgiveness when we fail, though, we can be spotless and blameless in His eyes. The blood of Jesus really does forgive our sins. The key is learning to live at peace with Him. Do we spend all of our time in “fighting mode” trying to tell God how wrong He is or do we recognize that after we fight against God’s plan that God was right all along and seek peace with Him. In truth, there are two main evaluators in our lives: those people who are outside the gospel of Christ who judge us and we ourselves. God no longer “evaluates” the Christian. He did that long ago and we were called sinners. Jesus died on the cross because of our sin. God now enables us to become the best followers of Christ we can be. It is in our relationship with God that our evaluators are then able to find us blameless or spotless. It is in our relationship with God that we can be at peace with Him, and show that peace to our evaluators through our everyday lives.
Lord God, I know that You already judged me and found me guilty of sin. I also know that You forgave me at the cross. Let me live in Your grace and mercy each day. Let my evaluators see me as spotless and blameless in my walk with You and experience the peace I have in You.