I’m not the kind of person to gravitate towards a women’s Bible study, but I’ve somehow found myself in one and signed up for the next. It’s not that I don’t see the value in it, but I do have a hard time not dissecting every line of whatever Beth Moore book is being studied. We’re going through a book by Priscilla Shirer, and in the margins of my workbook you’ll find the occasional “gah!” and “really??” scribbled throughout. I tend to over-analysis and tear apart whatever I’m reading, and I approach Bible studies based on popular books with the presupposition that it’ll be 200 pages of the most basic truths about Christianity or 200 pages of questionable hermeneutics.
A couple years ago, I gave a lesson on symbolism in Eudora Welty’s short story “A Visit of Charity.” We discussed how the use of the color white represented the sterile and cold environment of the nursing home and the comparison of the elderly ladies to animals showed how they were being dehumanized. We turned that piece inside out examining all the details and deeper meanings. When the class period was almost over, a student raised his hand and asked, “Is this what you do with everything you read? That must be exhausting.”
Unfortunately, I am cursed with not being able to “just read” a book. I suppose my greatest goal as a teacher, and in my own life, is to cultivate thinking people, so going back to women’s Bible study… I have low expectations. I’m not at all implying that women aren’t thinking about what they’re reading, but I do think we could be a little more critical. I struggled with the homework last week and struggled with not challenging it and simply taking it for what it was, but I did come across something I liked. It was a chart Priscilla Shirer had you fill in about 1 Corinthians 13. It was a simple T chart contrasting what love is and what love isn’t. And it got me thinking.
This is the love chapter. It’s read at weddings when two people want to commit to working towards each other’s best interests. When I read 1 Corinthians 13, I probably do think of my husband the most as I read, followed by my children. But the thought crossed my mind as I was filling in that chart, I should aim this passage at bio parents and see if I’m actually acting lovingly and thinking of them with love.
It’s easy to sacrifice for a child or spouse, but it’s a little more challenging to really love a person who has hurt or neglected the child in your care and might not be working to redeem herself/himself. I had to ask myself, “Am I patient with bio mom? Am I hopeful that she can turn things around, and am I willing to love through some messiness while she works her case plan?”
Do I have a list of wrongs she’s committed that I won’t let go of? Am I dishonoring them in anything I do or say? And one of the big ones, am I self-seeking? Do I want my own way in this situation?
I realized I have some things to work on when it comes to how I view bio parents, and that simple chart laid it out in a very obvious way. This week I plan on praying over the parts of 1 Corinthians 13 that are hard for me to do and working on retraining my thoughts.