Weren't we all teenagers at some point in our lives?
Notice I'm not asking how long ago that was!
Did you ever do anything you felt REALLY bad about?
(OK, I better see every hand raised out there in Blog Land!!)
I can recall one incident so vividly, it’s like it happened last week.
My dad and uncle owned a business in Pasadena. And at some point in time, they decided that it was a good idea to lease two company cars – two brand-new 1970 Pontiac Firebirds. I'm pretty sure that this was my "hot shot" uncle's idea!
My dad's car was awesome!
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 lets me use HIS car. He actually offered it to me!
I know!! Honestly, what was he thinking?!
After picking my jaw up off the floor, I graciously accepted…
"OK, Dad, if you insist."
I went to the party, and when it was over, a bunch of my friends 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 nothing screams "GOOD DECISION" like a car full of 16-year-old girls!
Anyway, we got to talking, got to flirting, and time ran away. When I finally headed home, my 11:00 PM curfew had disappeared in a teenage fog of…
Oh, he's so cute!
Do you think he likes me?
How's my hair look?
BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.
OK, so now it’s like 1:00 in the morning, 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 kind of a sharp turn at the top of the driveway, just past a retaining wall.
You KNOW what's coming, don't you?
Yes, I made that 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 leapt forward, almost piling into the corner of the garage. I got the car parked, and looked at it. There was a huge dent, and massive scratches right through the paint, all along the whole side of the car. OH MAN! 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!
I was almost to my bedroom when I noticed my mom sitting alone in the dark, shivering with fever and chills, sicker than a dog with the flu, waiting up for me.
I didn't sleep much that night.
The next morning I got up early, bringing all $200 in my savings account, to confess to my dad what I had done to his car. He told me to keep my money – he would "take care of it." My dad didn't get mad, he didn't punish me – He forgave me.
Jesus told His disciples a similar principle about forgiveness, and it's found in today's "Bible Pick 'Ems":
"If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks for forgiveness, you must forgive." (Luke 17:3-4)
Jesus took forgiveness very seriously – it was His whole mission on earth.
Can we do any less?
"…and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us." (Matthew 6:12)
"'Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?'
'No, not seven times,’ Jesus replied, ‘but seventy times seven!'"
"When in doubt, search God out!"