By Joel A. Hess –
You can get morality anywhere
Recently our Christian day school board discussed plans for marketing our wonderful product to our community. What sets our school apart from other similar enterprises? We pursue excellence in education, but so do others. Some might say that a Christian day school offers higher expectations regarding morality. The kids will learn strong Christian values of right and wrong. They probably won’t have to deal with the riff raff of public school. They likely won’t be tempted by drugs and sex. Plenty of parents probably think the same as they drop their kids off at the door of St. So and So Lutheran School.
But let’s be honest. Parents can get morality anywhere. Of course, there are various degrees of success in this area, and there are some moralities that are more complete than others. But seriously, if morality is the only difference between a private school and the rest, there are probably cheaper institutions for your child. Christians don’t have a monopoly on good behavior, after all.
It’s important for a Christian School to teach right and wrong, Christ-like citizenship, and Samaritan neighboring. But a Christian school has something far greater to offer that no other learning institution can: real forgiveness, real hope, real peace, Jesus.
At the end of the day, when the student looks into the mirror and doesn’t see the good person everyone calls her, she will treasure Jesus’ words that tell her “it is finished.”
At the end of the day, when a student realizes that no matter how hard he tries he can’t always be the best, the smartest, the strongest, he will be comforted by remembering his Baptism, his new identity in Christ.
At the end of his life, when the student faces death itself, neither morality nor natural knowledge will calm his heart except Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will never die.”
These aren’t words simply for our “spiritual” life, as if one can actually separate the mind, body, and spirit. While that distinction may be helpful as categories for conversation, we don’t really function that way in reality. Knowing Christ, a mental activity, affects the body and how we use it as much as the spirit. Our outlook on life has a great effect on our psychology, even our body. Knowing that God loves and forgives us in Christ can certainly give a student a peace that relieves them of physical and mental stress.
Every school runs with a certain worldview, whether it is explicit or not, even a spiritual worldview. By not teaching about God, a school actually teaches a lot about God. By saying nothing about God, a school teaches that God’s existence is either not certain or does not matter.
The teaching of Scripture, especially Jesus’ death and resurrection, not only places a student in the only reality that actually exists, but plants their feet in a perpetually positive reality; God is for them. A Christian school does not excel in behavior management any better than other schools. But it does excel in truth and reality more than other schools! And the truth and reality is, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will live eternally!
The world needs these sort of schools more than ever!