Emily McArthur, assistant professor, English Department:
“The first of the Ten Commandments states, ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ But somehow I manage to set up my own personal idols, time and time again. Success, mostly. Achievement. Respect. That sort of thing — false gods that only make me miserable. And time and time again, God gently but firmly sweeps those idols aside. Mercifully, He doesn’t punish me for my idol worship. He just shows me how much richer and more joyful my life is when I have no other gods before Him.”
Tisha Looby, associate dean, Thatcher Hall:
“As college students, we all make mistakes. But what happens when those mistakes start to define us and threaten our future? That’s where I found myself during my freshman year at Southern Adventist University.
I made plenty of poor decisions, and I couldn’t even blame my friends because they were usually my idea. I was heading down a dangerous path, sacrificing my calling and my future for falsified leaves and nights at lame parties with questionable people.
But then, after a seven-year journey, something incredible happened. The Lord transformed my heart and mind, and I went from being the girl who avoided the deans to becoming a dean myself. Despite my past mistakes, God did not count me out. As soon as I was willing to put Him first, He blessed me as if I had never turned away.
This mercy was not about being called out for my sins but about being called out of them. It was a transformative experience that I love to see in students. The moment they realize that their mistakes don’t define who they are is truly life-changing. Through Christ, we become new creatures, free from the weight of our past.
So, if you’re struggling with your own mistakes or feeling like your past defines you, remember that God’s mercy is waiting for you. It’s not about calling you out for your sins but calling you out of them. Embrace the transformative power of God’s mercy, and watch as your life is transformed for the better.”
Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, professor, School of Music:
“‘Call to remembrance, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving kindness that have followed me all the days of my life.’ It was during my collegiate years that I became acutely aware of God’s mercy; so it seems appropriate to share some of that story with college students here and now.
That was a time of transition and trial. ‘O Lord, have mercy on me!’ The illness and death of my mother during my freshman year sometimes made me feel ‘like a motherless child — a long way from home.’ But I felt God’s mercy when I was delivered from severe injury or death after being thrown out of a car driving at highway speeds.
And His mercy shone through caring teachers who nudged me from what I hoped would be a career in medicine to a calling in and through music. His mercy whispered to me that music is a medicine — ‘a balm in Gilead’ — that is as powerful as laughter, and, like leaves on the tree of life, can bring healing to the nations. For these, and more reasons than I can recount, ‘I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever.’”