In my life, it is a very dreaded time of the year at our home—it’s report card time. You might wonder why it is a dreaded time in our lives. It is because when you are a teacher, it takes endless hours to write these bad boys, and my children know that my world as a mom has to shut down and I am pretty much 24/7 in teacher mode, until these reports are complete. Unless you are a teacher, or a teacher’s child, you have no idea of the time that is put into preparation of these reports.
We have to evaluate all the students in all subject areas, mark their evaluations, then tally the marks, give them their letter grade, then explain in the lengthy comment area of what we’ve been working on, where they are strong and what needs more attention. As well, we have to comment on their behavior and social skills. It is painstaking and time consuming, but a necessity for home and school communication and an appraisal of how the student is performing in all subject and behavior areas.
I’m not a huge fan of giving children a ‘mark’, and I tell my students this. Giving a letter grade is the way that our society evaluates us, and deems us smart, average, or a failure. Sure, we are trying to get out of the use of that negative word, failure, but it’s embedded within us now. Nobody is a failure, we might not be there yet, but labeling things a failure is so demoralizing.
Think about yourself. Let’s do an evaluation of you. Why not complete your own spiritual report card, looking at all the subject and behavioral areas of the spiritual self?
As I read, studied and mediated on my daily chapter of Mark today, this is what hit me. Imagine if we do a spiritual evaluation like I am writing on my students? It says in Mark 7:20-23 explains, “And he went on to say, “It is what comes out of you that makes you unclean. For from the inside, from your heart, comes the evil ideas which lead you to do immoral things, to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly—all of these evil things come from inside you and make you unclean.”
Am I greedy? Definitely, I love my jewelry and clothing and have way more than I need—a definite “F” in my case! Am I deceitful? Well, I guess sometimes—I have to be honest, or I am being deceitful, I would give myself a “B-” for that one. Am I slanderous? I do participate in gossip when I probably shouldn’t? For sure even though I try to avoid places that I know it is going to be—Sadly, I probably only get a “C” on this section of my report card, and a definite area that I can easily bring up my grade. Pride? Pride is sinful…what? Jumpins! That is a big FAILURE here! I love being proud of my kids, but now that I am educated, I will be changing that area of my life for sure!
That is just a brief look at my report card, and there are areas I can easily improve on and there are other areas that I really struggle with. Why? Because I am human. Do I pretend to be any better than anyone else? I try not to be, because the above are all sinful and equally bad in God’s eyes. Just because society feels that killing is worse than gossiping, they are still both sinful, and they all come from an evil heart. I just want to increase my grades of my heart, because I know it is the heart that the final report comes from.
Does your spiritual report card look like mine? If you are honest with yourself, it probably does. We all have our failures, but thank goodness our God is a forgiving God, and is willing to reach out and help us in our struggling areas if we spend time forming a relationship with him, praying daily without ceasing, and including him before we make any decisions.
What areas do you need help on? Are you going to try and elevate your grades to help your heart be formed into a heart of God? If we could all focus on love instead of the evil hearts that we as human naturally have wouldn’t report card time be much easier?