I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. –1 John 2:12
Recently, I walked into the school’s Writing Center, just across the hall and down a bit from my office. I can’t recall who I was looking for, but I must have looked befuddled and needy. One of the tutors, a face I didn’t know, approached me. “Is there something we can help you with?” Clearly, she was ready to guide me to reference books or to review my paper. Was I perhaps struggling through the dark night of solecisms? With this tutor around, I would not have to face that struggle alone. For a moment, I felt touched. Then I got over it.
A few minutes later, when I entered the center to make some copies, this same tutor approached me to apologize. “I didn’t realize you were faculty,” she whispered. There’s no reason she should have made that assumption, of course. I hardly consider myself unavoidably professorial in appearance.
At other times, when I am hanging out in the Writing Center, I’ll jump into a conversation when a student is asking a difficult question. More than once, they’ve stared at me after I entered the discussion with a look that says, “Who are you and why are you offering your two cents?”
Were I a vainer person, I’d lead them across the hall and point to the diplomas on one wall and the teaching awards on the other. I’d wag my finger in the student’s face and say, “Listen up, Bucko, I was correcting papers when you were still in diapers!” But I’m not that sort of person.
What gives me the right to act like I know everything when it comes to academic writing? I suppose it is education and experience. These are great things to make a resumé appear stronger, but I have noticed that they do very little when it comes to dealing with the problem of sin.
My years in church will avail me nothing before God. My copious notes during Bible Study or my dozen hours of seminary courses won’t help a bit. Isn’t it interesting that as John begins his poetic discourse on why he is writing that he talks of forgiveness to the children, the least educated, least experienced of the three groups he addresses.
Lest we forget, our sins are forgiven not by virtue of education, experience, good deeds, proper religious practice, or anything else we do, no matter how hard we try to believe otherwise. My sins, rank as they are, fall away like nothing strictly due to the power of the name of Jesus Christ.