Weren’t we all teenagers at one point in our lives?
Did anyone ever do anything they felt really bad about? (There’d better a resounding "YES" out there in Blog Land…)
Let me tell you about one of mine.
My dad and uncle owned a business together. At one point, they decided that it would be a good idea to lease company cars. My uncle was kind of a "hot shot" – so they decided to get two brand-new 1970 Pontiac Firebirds.
Yeah, I know!
My dad’s was a metallic champagne gold color, with a black hardtop, and awesome rims – (Notice that I said "rims" not "tires" – just making points with the men out there!)
So, one night I needed to borrow a car to go to a church party.
OK, I’m 16, the ink is barely dry on my driver’s license, and my dad offers to let me use HIS car! (I agree – WHAT was he thinking?!)
After the party, several of my girlfriends and I thought it would be "cool" to drive over and see a boy that I had a secret crush on – because I was behind the wheel of a "radically hot" car. We thought this was a great idea because after all, nothing screams "GOOD DECISION" like a car full of 16-year-old girls!
Time ran away.
When I finally headed home, my 10:00 PM curfew had disappeared in a teenage fog…
So now it’s almost 1:00 AM, it’s pouring rain, and I have to park the car in the garage. Our driveway was very steep, and Dad parked his car on the right-hand side of the garage – so you had to make a sharp turn at the top of the driveway, just past a retaining wall.
You KNOW what’s coming, don’t you?
Yup, I made that sharp turn, just a LITTLE early, and heard the most awful sound as "brand-new" Firebird met concrete block wall.
Man, it still hurts today.
I tried backing up…SCRAPE.
I tried going forward…SCRAPE.
The car was sorta stuck on the wall. In a panic, I finally just gunned the engine and the car leaped forward, almost running into the garage! I got the car parked, and looked at it.
There was a HUGE dent, and massive gashes right through the paint, all along the whole side of the car. OH DEAR!
I quietly entered the house, so I wouldn’t disturb anyone’s sleep. OK, OK, yes…I was trying to sneak in – (you guys are awful strict out there…). I was almost to my bedroom when I noticed my mom sitting alone in the dark, shivering with fever and chills from the flu, waiting up for me.
I didn’t get much sleep that night.
The next morning I got up early, bringing my little savings passbook (with all $200 in it), to confess to my dad what I had done to his car.
He told me how disappointed he was in me. But, he told me to keep my money – he would "take care of it." Truth be told, I wanted him to yell at me, to have the reaction that I thought my terrible offense deserved. I wanted him to teach me a lesson.
Well, I DID learn a lesson that night. I learned that sometimes you don’t get what you deserve. I learned that sometimes forgiveness trumps punishment.
It makes me think what it would be like if I was able to sit at the foot of the cross – knowing what I know today. I can picture looking up at Jesus, so very grateful for what He's doing for me – of course. But also sorta wanting Him to yell at me, to tell me what a terrible person I am, to be angry and vindictive – to almost want Him to give me what I deserve.
Because that might be easier than seeing the look of wistful sadness in His face – the forlorn look of disappointment in His eyes. The unexpected, and oh so undeserved, look of kindness…
And my overwhelming sense of guilt.
But Jesus did not condemn – He did not judge.
He forgave me – told me to keep my life.
Whispered to my spirit, “I’ll take care of it.”
Forgiveness has a face,
Mercy is finally understood
in outstretched arms,
Grace is undeserved
makes no sense.
It is just there
to be embraced.
© Sharon Kirby
January 29, 2011
BLOG = “Blessedly Leaning On God!”