by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
In all-school chapel this month, a student from the senior class said something out loud that personally offended me. I thought that it needed my immediate attention. I brought the student up on stage in front of the student body. I asked him to write down on a piece of paper what he said and the sin it reflected. I then proceeded to take the piece of paper and fold it up and put it in my pocket. I explained to the senior, and the student body, that I was going to keep track of this piece of paper throughout the rest of the year. Any time that I felt like it, I was going to take out this piece of paper and remind the student of how they had wronged me. I might even keep track of the student’s future actions and add them to the list. In this way I could have control over this student by holding his past sins against him.
Of course the student body did not think this was a good plan. I just happened to have a paper shredder on stage. I asked the student body if a better idea might be to shred the piece of paper which represented the student’s offense against me. They agreed that was the proper choice and cheered enthusiastically when the paper was shredded. To forgive someone means to release him or her from liability to suffer punishment or penalty. This staged chapel situation illustrated how easy it can be to keep a record of wrongs rather than to forgive. The student body was relieved after I let them know that I had planned that illustration with the senior student prior to chapel, and his comment was only acting.
As the school focuses on the character trait of forgiveness this month, there are many key components of forgiveness to apply. True forgiveness requires the person to no longer dwell on the past incident. This can be a difficult requirement. Students can practice the replacement principle. Rather than dwelling on a past incident with brooding thoughts of bitterness, they can replace those thoughts with prayers aligned with God’s love. Soon, thoughts of enmity develop into thoughts of sympathy.
As illustrated in chapel, true forgiveness demands not holding past sins against others by not bringing them up to the person or to others. This principle does not remove the application of wisdom in relationships that require caution, but it does require an eagerness to move on. Finally, students should allow the process of forgiveness to bring glory to God through their actions and a heart that is soft before God. Typically, healthy forgiveness can restore a relationship to an even stronger foundation than previously.
Throughout this month when students are tempted to hold offenses against one another, students and teachers alike are encouraged to not put those hard feelings in their pocket to pull out later. Rather, empty your pockets and shred those unhealthy thoughts of un-forgiveness. These principles are not only for children, but can bring tremendous health to all relationships. For more Godly principles on restoration in relationships, I recommend “The Peacemaker” by Ken Sande. (Amazon $9.07)
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
by Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
Along the path of my walk with Jesus, I have found joy in the unfathomable expression of His love and blessing in my life. His continual faithfulness has led me into a trusting relationship where I am able to proclaim “Your perfect will be done!”, and when my immature attitude was more akin to “Fine! Have it your way!” His grace ministered to me. Jesus and I have had a lot of fun, and we’ve faced a lot of fears. He has answered my “part the waters” prayers, and my silliest “why not” prayers. He knows when I need to be refreshed, and the right time to take me through the thorny patches into further spiritual growth.
During an amazing season of growth along my path I was stopped dead in my tracks by a boulder of un-forgiveness blocking the way. I knew this boulder well; had kicked it around when it was a mere pebble, and over the years, carried it with me on occasion (not ever realizing how heavy it was becoming). It had a specific person’s name written on it, along with the offenses of said person. I tried to go around it, over it, and if I could have somehow tunneled underneath it I would have given it a go. God placed it securely there, and I knew it wasn’t moving until I dealt with it.
God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were determined, and guided me through Ephesians 4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” into Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” I had been living by the world’s definition of forgiveness with its rules, strings attached, and hoops to jump through. The correcting words of scripture caused my heart to awaken to the fact that godly forgiveness begins and ends with love. Love is always the goal, not validation, justice, or punishment.
This month’s character trait of forgiveness is a vital practice of discipleship, one by which our relationship with God depends on, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15. Godly forgiveness is quick to forgive an offense (Col. 3:13), delights in showing mercy, casting iniquities into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19), does not repay evil for evil (Rom. 12:17), prays for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:28), and requires us to confess our own sins (John 1:9). The act of giving and seeking forgiveness is perhaps one of the most difficult assignments on our walk with Jesus, yet if we endeavor to begin and end with love, we will see its fruit, experience its healing, and live in the freedom forgiveness produces.
May we be blessed peacemakers, forgiving as we have been forgiven.
– Molly Dillon / Keizer Campus Principal
by Adam Kronberger / Superintendent
Bunched together in the back of the classroom were nine young men, 14 and 15 year-olds, with a degree of nervousness written on their faces. Staring back at them was a 32 year-old school principal with a half-dozen emotions written on his face. Anxious parents had already taken their pictures and left this group behind to begin their adventure. It was the first day of school for the first class of Crosshill Christian High School.
There was one primary purpose when those pioneering families and visionary school leaders determined to extend our school’s offerings beyond 8th grade seven years ago. They wanted a high school that would continue to provide discipleship support to their children as they transitioned into young adulthood. Throughout the next four years the foundation for the high school was laid, with dozens of “firsts” experienced by those pioneering families.
As the high school shifts from pioneering something new to establishing and building something that lasts, the school is receiving growing recognition. The boys basketball team is at the OSAA State Championship Tournament for the third straight year, along with half the student body. Volleyball teams, Cross-Country teams,Track teams, and Band have also received ongoing state accolades. The Fine Arts program continues to be recognized nationally. Schools and families around the state have become familiar with hearing about Crosshill and the growth and accomplishments of its student body.
The high school’s success reminds me of so many other areas of life. Oftentimes what gets noticed by others is not necessarily the most important thing. Certainly, high school activities and accomplishments are a significant component to both the mission and culture of the school. Through the leadership of coaches and leaders, the students’ character is developed, oftentimes in ways not readily available in the classroom. And students are guided toward personal growth and excellence in these activities. Still, championships were never the main thing. Making disciples of Christ was and still is the main thing.
Each time the high school experiences success, the look on parents’ faces says it all. It is not the look of relief or even arrogant triumph, but rather joy and pleasure, like a child whose parent gives them an extra cookie. God has been so good to us with his love, and has constantly guided the life of this school. On top of everything else, when our children shine like the stars, it feels like a special gift just for us.
One member of our state basketball team started at CCS in preschool, and another athlete on the team used to walk the hallways of the Keizer Campus. They will remember this experience for the rest of their lives. But more importantly, I believe they will not only remember but put into practice the lessons learned through hundreds of hours of rubbing shoulders with the staff and families of the CCS community... as disciples of Jesus Christ.
– Adam Kronberger / Superintendent