I recently heard a national leader of public education being interviewed. The interviewer asked about what is being done to combat all the violence in public schools. The NEA leader said that many schools now include “conflict resolution” classes in their curriculums. The purpose of these classes is to teach children of various ethnic groups and “value systems” how to get along in the classroom setting. Isn’t it a shame that valuable class time, once used to teach “the basics,” is now being used to teach children not to use violence to solve problems? This is just one of many examples in which public schools are looked on to solve the problems of our sinful society.
The purpose of this article is not, however, to provide answers to problems faced by many public schools (for which I currently have none), but rather to express what a privilege it is to teach in a school where “conflict resolution” has a whole different meaning.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the greatest conflict in human history has taken place between sinful man and a holy God. Our holy God hates sin, and “the carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). A resolution was necessary to prevent the violent death of all people in hell. A resolution came in the form of the God-man, Jesus Christ, whose perfect life and innocent death atoned for the sins of all people. “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). By faith in this perfect sacrifice we are no longer enemies with God. Jesus’ “conflict resolution” has enabled us to love one another and to resolve our conflicts with each other as well.
In our Christian day schools of the CLC we are blessed by the Holy Spirit with a common “value system.” Right and wrong are determined by what Scripture says. Our conflict resolution class takes place throughout the school day whenever the law and the Gospel are properly used. Children are taught to love their neighbor as themselves, and to place their love for God above everything else. They learn how to repent of their sins and to grant others forgiveness. May we always treasure what we have been taught and what we are able to teach.
Thou art our holy Lord, O all-subduing Word, Healer of strife. Thou didst Thyself abase That from sin’s deep disgrace Thou mightest save our race And give us life. (TLH 628:2)
–Teacher Joseph Lau