Agape news

 Admit when you're wrong


The bell rang, and all the students took their places, preparing for the start of the lesson. Three of the guys were having a good time, being loud and cutting up in the last row. They quieted a bit, having decided to share their news with the whole class.

As it turned out, one of them, *Oleg, had skipped classes completely for the past three days. He’d been playing ‘Dota,’ a new computer game. He was full of news about the latest in computer games, telling everyone just how realistic the newest generation of games had become. His friends, *Slava and *Andrei, were also really into the conversation, eagerly sharing their own opinions with anyone who would listen. However, their classmates, having heard them out, weren’t in the least excited about the latest in computer games. They complained that for those three, games had become more important than spending time with their other friends. 

 Once I got the drift of what they were saying, I decided to share my own opinion… and I didn’t mince words.  I told them that I considered that such games were a pastime that wasn’t pleasing to God, they weren’t of God  (correspondingly, they could draw their own conclusions as to their spiritual origins) and it was best to stop playing them. As soon as they heard what I thought, all three of the guys reacted pretty strongly… they said that they weren’t staying for the lesson, and not to expect to see them in the future.

A week later, I ended up in the same group again, it wasn’t a scheduled lesson, but as we know, there are no such things as coincidences with God. Everyone was really glad to see me… well, almost everyone. Andrei, Slava and Oleg were the last to enter the class, slipping in the back after the bell had rung. When they saw me, they were obviously upset – they were still pretty ticked off at me. I felt the Lord speak to my heart, convicting me that I needed to ask their forgiveness for speaking harshly to them at our last meeting. I just couldn’t start the lesson with such obvious hostility and discord between the students and myself. I knew that I had to be the one to take the first step toward reconciliation. As I asked the guys to forgive me for so harshly condemning their beloved pastime, I could see that it was nice for them to hear a teacher admitting that they were wrong. However, Oleg was the only one of the three who forgave me. Andrei and Slava said they didn’t understand why I was asking their forgiveness in the first place…

During the following lessons, Andrei didn’t want to speak to me at all, and did his best to avoid all contact with me at the vocational college or around town. Time went by until almost a year had passed. Every time I ran into those three guys, they seemed more open, more welcoming. Our conflict slowly began to fade from our collective memory.  

Whenever I happened to run into them around town, they always greeted me first, and the last time I saw Andrei, I was really encouraged. He not only came up and greeted me before I had a chance to say ‘hello,’ but went on to say how glad he was to see me, and shared a little about his life! It was great to see that the ice thawing in his attitude toward me. I’m thankful to the Lord that amidst all that He teaches me, he’s also teaching me how to ask forgiveness of the kids I work with.

 This incident was a real lesson for me. If I don’t agree with the opinions of the teens I work with, I don’t need to be harsh and uncompromising in expressing my own opinion. I now think it’s better to try to discuss the idea with them, to attempt to reason with them in a less confrontational manner, using humor, even. My work with teens is something that enriches us all – me no less than them! Praise the Lord for everything He does in our lives! 

Katya Vorobei,
Agape teacher