Value number 3: Loving Relationships
Thoughts from Headmaster, Rebekah Hagstrom
Loving relationships are at the core of the Christian faith. God created humankind for loving relationship with Himself. He affectionately pursues us and desires that we place our hope and trust in his son, Jesus. By doing so, we enter into a life-changing relationship with the God of the universe that when earnestly practiced, will change the trajectory of our lives and overwhelm us with a sense of God’s perfect, unconditional love. There is no greater demonstration of love than that.
Loving Relationship with Christ
Every relationship we have on earth as Christians should reflect the loving relationship Christ has with us and desires we have with Him. Jesus calls us in Matthew 22 to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, all of our soul and all of our mind. He calls that the greatest commandment. And the second commandment, which he says is like the first, is to love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving Relationships with One Another
Since God loved us so much that He sent his Son to die for our sins, overcome death and send His Spirit to provide direction, we all must strive to emulate that sacrificial love in our own relationships with one another. Namely, we should demonstrate selfless love; enduring, genuine, and unconditional. The love that places your neighbor before yourself, that hurts for others when they are hurting, that lavishes compassion and help upon those in need, that protects the widows and orphans from harm, and that seeks to reflect kindness, respect, truth and grace in all circumstances.
Loving Relationships with Our Enemies
And what about those who are difficult to love or even seemingly impossible to love? God once again provides clear direction: in Matthew 5, Jesus calls us to love our enemies and, “…bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…” And when asked how many times one must forgive his brother, Jesus responds, “seventy times seven.” Restoration and forgiveness are foundational to loving relationships.
The Bible often references the husband-wife and parent-child relationships as a reflection of God’s connection with us. When strong and healthy, these relationships provide a window into just how deep and wide God’s love is for us who are all still imperfect.
Reflecting this example of the unconditional and lavish love of Christ towards one another in all circumstances; even, and especially, when it’s difficult, is what we believe we are called to do at Liberty Classical Academy.
Thoughts from K-12 Director, Jeff Button
Inside and Outside the Classroom
Building upon the previous two values of Biblical Principles and God, Family, Country; we reach, Loving Relationships. This value displays itself inside and outside of the classroom in various and sundry ways throughout the days and weeks of a school year.
As faculty and staff, we aim to show loving relationships towards each other, as well as to the students. Liberty staff seeks to model servitude towards others in all situations. Students, too, are shown the joy that it is to serve those around them, knowing that, “...even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve...” (Mark 10:45a). Students at Liberty serve in various capacities, ranging from local food drives and Operation Christmas Child all the way to taking short term missions trips to Haiti. Not only is service towards others a way to show loving relationships, but our daily interactions can be an opportunity to do this as well.
At Liberty, we want our students to show kindness and respect towards classmates as well as teachers. We know that mistakes are made, and sin exists in our classrooms. Our students are not immune from pushing each other, using unkind words, rolling their eyes, complaining, etc. Part of the human experience is making these errors. At Liberty, we do not accept these errors as inevitable, we deal with unfortunate occurrences through the lens of a Christian worldview and loving relationships.
A component of the Christian walk is being lovingly called to task on our grievances; this gives us the opportunity to own our errors, to admit wrongdoing and to seek forgiveness. In the lower school, we discipline from the viewpoint of a restored relationship, not merely punishing behavior. In the middle and upper school, we speak often of restitution and “making things right” with affected parties, whether they are peers or teachers.
One quick anecdote to illustrate this just happened a few weeks ago. There was an incident that was both very public, but also anonymous. I took the opportunity to speak to the students in a public setting and I reminded them all about Liberty’s values, specifically that of Loving Relationships. Not thirty seconds afterwards, a student came directly to me and said, “Mr. Button, that was me. It was stupid, and I will make it right.”
Scripture often speaks of restoration, not merely punitive action. At Liberty, we strive to restore relationships through admitting our wrong-doing, seeking forgiveness, providing restitution, and experiencing grace. As the K-12 Director, one of my roles at school is to oversee and facilitate student discipline. Again, this is never done out of shame or to be merely punitive; restoration of relationship is always the goal to be accomplished. I always start and end my time of student discipline with prayer and scripture, as all situations like these need the Lord’s help. One of my greatest joys is when this process is completed successfully; it is seldom fun, quick, or easy, but hearing a student say to another student, “It’s okay, I forgive you” is a tiny glimpse of what Christ provides for us. Liberty students, at all levels, are being trained in and through loving relationships.
Lastly, we try to show loving relationships through our organization’s grievance policy, which is modeled directly from Matthew 18. We encourage our students, staff, and parents to go directly to a person or a party with any grievance they have, knowing that this is the Biblical way to correct an issue. If that fails to bring about success, we follow Christ’s words carefully to not sin ourselves, with gossip, slander, or rumor spreading.
Loving relationships are an integral part of the Liberty experience, in the classroom, on the playground, on sports fields, and in the hallways. We want to honor each other and our Lord by displaying love towards all, in the good and in the difficult times of life together.