Natural or Discretionary

I settled down for a comfortable evening of reading book reports from my Human Development course.  I believe I was reading my fifth paper when I came across the following sentence. “ Inherent in the epistolary format of the book is the idea that language itself can be salvific.”  Really?  I noted that the paper was written by an immigrant freshman student from Guinea whose official language had been French.  It took but a few moments to find that sentence and almost the entire paper by typing the “wonderful” sentence in Google.

I often wonder if God is ever amused at our feeble, ignorant attempts to deceive.  Actually amused is not the right word to use.  I should use the word disappointed because I was disappointed in my student.  Now came judgment time.  I hate this part of teaching. The ball was in my court.  What should I do?  The college policy is clear about this.  I even have this sentence in my syllabus from the student handbook. “. . . consequences range from no credit for the assignment to failure for the course and possible expulsion from the college.”

How interesting that I naturally responded according to how I was raised.  My parents always gave me a second chance.  Not a third!  A second.  Considering there was a paragraph or so in the paper actually written by the student, I gave her a D and a severe warning.  And how does God deal with me?  He is extremely gracious.  He does forgive but He also lets me reap the natural consequences of my sins.  Is the college policy “natural consequences” or discretionary consequences?  I opted for discretionary.  My wish is for God to also be discretionary with me.

Written by Roger Bothwell on Oct. 6, 2014

Spring of Life, PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574