Freedom: From Condemnation to Confidence
Ramblings from Evan’s dad – Growing up in the country with not a lot of money, one gets creative with entertainment. There were countless battles fought with sticks, acorns, and dirt clods. We went inside to play, only when it got too cold or wet. Our default was to be outside. Tim and Chris Chupp played with us some, but the fearless foursome was my other two cousins, Mark and Todd Waites, and my younger sister Melody.
I had several ill thought ideas we carried out that we won’t go into here. One however, that I think I’ve mentioned before, bears repeating. My really dumb idea of throwing rocks up high into the air, and then see how close they landed to cars passing by. After all, we were playing army, and they were “enemy transports”. One afternoon, I let one fly that seemed to have a 3 minute hang time. We heard the car coming. Uh,oh,…it was Mr. Mayhue’s beautiful new baby blue Cadillac. We watched in shocked horror, realizing seconds before it happened, that this was a VERY bad idea. That golf ball sized rock landed square in the middle of his beautiful blue hood. I, being the responsible leader of the pack, ran! I didn’t slow down till I was somewhere near Maryland. Well, maybe it was just to the backyard of my cousin’s house, but I would have run to Maryland if I’d known where it was.
The next day I looked out the window as we drove by Mr. Mayhue’s house and saw him working on his hood. I was SO ashamed. I had done countless dumb things, but this was near the top of the list. For years after that I avoided Mr. Mayhue like the plague. The guilt ate at me whenever I saw him, or went by his house. If we bumped in to him, dad would talk with him, and I would quickly disappear. The guilt followed me into adulthood.
Twenty some odd years later God really convicted me about that rock incident. I was a fairly new Christian and He brought it to mind. To my knowledge Mr. Mayhue was not a Christian. My whole family was, and now I was, and I felt like I needed to confess. As “luck” would have it, I went to visit my family the next Sunday at church. Who just happened to be there, having recently started attending church?!? Yep!! I walked up to Mr. Mayhue and shook his hand and recounted from my vivid memory that day. I confessed to him it was me, and asked him to forgive me, as I offered to pay for whatever the damages cost. A very strange thing happened. Mr. Mayhue smiled. And then he told me that he knew it was me the day it happened. He laughed, yes you heard me, he laughed, and said “Ted, I forgave you for that twenty years ago!” I asked again if I could pay for it. He said that it was paid in full a long time ago. He gave me a big hug and told me to forget about it, because he already had.
How many “rock incidents” do we have in our lives where the one we offended was God? Mistakes that racked us with guilt for years. Mistakes we didn’t feel worthy of being forgiven for. Maybe at some point we even quickly threw an “I’m sorry” His way, but didn’t hang around long enough to hear His reply. I bet more times than not, He would smile at us like Mr. Mayhue did, give us a BIG hug, and the same reply, “I forgave you of that one twenty years ago, and haven’t thought about it since.” We might even ask, “God, can I pay for it? I really feel bad about it.” Like Mr. Mayhue, God’ reply would be “that was paid in full …2000 years ago”….
Though I an in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, He would prove me perverse. (Job 9:20)