My kids. Lord, they can drive me crazy. They almost never pick up after themselves, they usually protest loudly before they eat anything I cook and they definitely don’t have an “inside voice (to be fair, I’m not sure that last one even exists). I guess that’s why I always find it amusing when God uses them to get my attention and reveal himself to me. And he almost always uses them to get me to listen. And so begins the tale of two sorry’s.
Yesterday, my daughter got in the car and began emptying out the contents of her folder. She happily chirped about this and that; who did what at recess, who said what during lunch. She casually comes across a quiz that she had gotten a D on. She pulled it out quickly, made a yucky face and rolled those pretty brown eyes. “ugh. I’m sorry, mom.
I got a D on this.” She had even written me a little note on the side expressing her sorrow. We talked about what she could have done better and what we needed to study and that was it. Any anxiety she had carried over telling me, her math teacher mom, vanished.
Later that night, Luke was kind of sulking around the kitchen while I was cooking dinner. He kept looking at his skates, which he loves, like he wanted to use them. He had parked them in front of the wall in the foyer a few weeks ago. He propped them up really cute and told me he liked them there against the wall so I agreed to let them stay there until he wanted to skate again. Finally, he asked me to come into the foyer with him. As we walked in, he took a deep breath in and with his exhale, confessed his crime. He explained that he had been skating a few weeks ago and put a dent in the wall. He was so afraid to tell me that he hid the dent with his skates. I could tell that this confession took all his strength and courage. He looked up at me with those little blue eyes and said, “I hope you aren’t mad. I feel so much better already now that you know. It was hard to keep that secret.” I hugged him up tight and thanked him for such a courageous confession. He couldn’t believe that was all he was going to get but he grinned really big and laced up those skates. He has talked about how much better he feels now that I know what he had been hiding all this time.
I got to thinking about those two “I’m sorry’s” tonight. I was wondering why Ava had such an easy time asking forgiveness and was able to move on quickly while Luke struggled with confessing and asking forgiveness. His inability to confess quickly caused him to carry around unnecessary grief and anxiety inside and it also caused him not to do the thing he loves the most-skating. I settled on one profound truth. Ava is used to discussing grades with me. As a teacher, grades and education have always been a central part of our nightly discussions. She knew, with certainty, how I was going to respond. She could predict how I would react, what I would say and that she would quickly be forgiven. Isn’t that how it is with the Lord? We get used to our own behaviors and faults and we get fluent in saying, “I’m sorry” for those. Now, I’m not saying that we continue to repeat the same mistake and carelessly ask forgiveness but I am saying that we know the areas where our flesh finds trouble and, because of our familiarity, we think we know how God, and others, will react. He will be quick to forgive and we can move on in righteousness.
Luke, on the other hand, didn’t know how I would react to a dent in the wall. As far as he knew, he was the first one to do something like this in our house and because of that, it brought uncertainty and fear. Out of fear, he hid his mistake and chose to carry around the consequences of hiding it. He felt nervous, probably unhappy because he could no longer do something he loves, and he felt shame for denting the wall. I think his situation is parallel to many of our own reactions to sin in our lives. We find ourselves in a funk or overwhelming situation and instead of reaching to Jesus, we look for sin. We always find it but it usually the sins that we aren’t familiar with. Maybe you take up an unhealthy addiction you shouldn’t, perhaps you begin to carry the burden of unforgiveness and hate toward another or maybe you develop an attitude of unthankfulness and contempt for the blessings you do have. It doesn’t matter the sin, it’s the response that is crucial. When we walk outside our what we consider “normal” sins, we began to fear God’s response. We don’t know how we will react so rather than confess and ask forgiveness, we hide it and bury it down deep. We move it around inside ourselves, we ignore it and we try to rationalize it. What we don’t do is address it head on. These are often the sins that we fear will bring the greatest disappointment to not only God but others around us. It’s a lie that the enemy gets us to believe because he wants us to feel just like Luke did. Shameful. Full of anxiety. Not enjoying our life. Unhappy.
I had actually been feeling a little like Luke lately. I had been hiding some shames down in my heart that I needed to forgive myself for and allow in to forgive me for. I was reminded by my husband that there is no condemnation in Christ. None. It doesn’t matter the sin, confess it quickly, ask forgiveness and strive to do better. Don’t be like Luke and hide it for another month. Don’t even hide it one more day. Let me say it again, there is NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST. Allow yourself to feel the joy and relief that comes from knowing that the God of the Universe is waiting for you to just confess and ask forgiveness so he can set you free. Free from shame, unhappiness and anxiety.
There is now no condemnation in Christ, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” Romans 8:1