“Don’t judge others, and God will not judge you. Don’t condemn others, and you will not be condemned. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give to others, and you will receive. You will be given much. It will be poured into your hands—more than you can hold. You will be given so much that it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you.” Luke 6:37-38 (ERV)
Darren fidgeted in the hard plastic chair of the principal’s waiting room. He had never been there before and was now pretty sure he never wanted to be there again. He and some friends had been caught defacing PE lockers with permanent markers.
“Why did I ever let them talk me into that?” he thought to himself. “Why didn’t I tell them I needed to get to class or something? Why didn’t I just stand up to them in the first place and tell them it was wrong? What will my parents say? What will Grandpa think of me?”
In the middle of all this self-talk, Darren heard something he had learned about in Youth Group. “What would Jesus do?”
“Well,” he thought, “Jesus would NEVER find Himself in the principal’s waiting room in the first place!”
Darren ran various scenarios through his head. He could outright deny having done the damage. After all, he didn’t have a marker in his possession when they got caught. No one could prove that he did any of the actual marking. But… “What would Jesus do?”
Well, Jesus wouldn’t lie. Darren HAD done some of the actual damage. Not as much as the other guys but he still participated and still caused damage. No, he didn’t feel right at all about lying.
He could blame the other guys. After all, it was their idea in the first place. He just went along with them because he didn’t want them to think he was a wimp. He wanted to be “cool” like them. He wanted them to like him. Yeah….that was it. It was their fault.
But then, once again, he heard, “What would Jesus do?”
Well, Jesus would own up to His part. He wouldn’t try to blame anyone else for something He had done. He would take responsibility for his actions.
Darren had decided that as much as he didn’t want to, he had to take responsibility for what he had done. He had to pay the price for his actions. There would be a consequence at school and even more of a consequence at home but he had learned a valuable lesson.
As the principal’s door opened, Darren’s heart and stomach did a flip flop. Part of him wanted to bolt out the other door and never come back. But as he stood to face his consequences, he heard once again, “What would Jesus do?”
Jesus would repent. He would ask for forgiveness. He would try to live his life in a good way going forward. And He would be forgiven. Without a lecture, without an “I told you so,” without a reminder of how He had sinned in the past.
Darren knew all about this gift of forgiveness. The Lord had given this gift to him, to his mom, and to his two sisters. They in turn had given this gift to Dad. Unconditional love and forgiveness from the Lord had made his family whole again.
“When you are praying and you remember that you are angry with another person about something, forgive that person. Forgive them so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.” Mark 11:225-26 (ERV)
Two days of in-school suspension and an anxious walk to the car with Dad. Darren thought Dad would start in with the “What were you thinking?” stuff right away. But he didn’t. So Darren took a deep breath and started his apology. After some words about a lesson learned and a list of lost privileges at home, Dad patted Darren on the knee and said, “It’s OK, Darren. I forgive you. That was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. But it’s a lesson I’m so glad I learned. And a gift that I can never repay.”
He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:10-13 (NLT)
Kim, a stander in Nebraska
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Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.