This past Saturday morning, I came downstairs at about 7:30 and was surprised to hear voices in my kitchen. Ben had a friend spend the night and they usually stay up all night and sleep until noon. As I’m walking straight to the coffee pot, I say to them,
“Why are you up so early?”
They look at each other as if they are not sure how to answer. Finally Ben timidly says,
“Um…we need to tell you something.”
I started wondering if they had slept at all. It seemed like they had been sitting there all night just waiting for me to wake up so they could confess. They were very nervous. I could tell that this was something pretty bad.
But, I’m thinking that they spilled something on the couch. Or, tore the felt on the pool table, or broke the lamp. Nope. It was none of these. It was much worse.
They took me in the game room and when Ben turned the TV on, I was silent. I won’t go into all the details of how they told me it happened, because the only thing that matters is that they made a bad decision and our 80″ TV is ruined.
PAUSE: I know exactly what you are thinking. “Who needs an 80″ TV, anyway??!!”
If you’ve ever been to our house, you probably remember the TV because it takes up half of the game room. It is huge!! It was only purchased because of a bonus Clay got. He wanted it for sports, and it sure was a great place to watch a football game.
Ok. Back to Saturday morning. I’m standing in the middle of the room, staring at the shattered TV screen, without a drop of coffee in my body, with two little boys looking at me like they are about to melt into puddles of tears. I told them I needed a minute to think and I walked out of the room and straight to the Keurig, where my coffee was waiting for me.
Only a few minutes later, Ben came in the kitchen, very quietly. He had tears streaming down his face and he said,
“Mom, I will get a job and I will work to make money to pay for it. I promise.” (Important note: He’s 11.)
To which I replied in a pretty sweet voice, considering the circumstances,
“Ben, that’s impossible. You could never earn enough money to pay for that TV.”
Immediately. I mean, before the words even got passed my lips. The Holy Spirit spoke to me.
“You could never repay your debt, either.”
I walked to the swing in silence. As I sipped my coffee on the swing the Lord just kept talking to me about the situation. Ben and his friend came to the porch with me and we had a meaningful discussion about the consequences of our sin. I asked them some questions:
“Although what happened was an accident, did you know that what you were doing at the time was wrong?“They replied with sad faces,
“Yes, but it was so fun.”
It is the same with us when we sin. There is a conscience in us, which is the Holy Spirit, telling us that what we are doing is wrong, but we are having fun. (Read Romans 2:14-15) We are caught up in the moment and we choose to continue in our sin. But, then, something bad happens and we realize how wrong we were. So, we feel bad about it. So bad, that we lose sleep or we cry or we sit and wait in panic until God comes (to get His coffee) and we can tell Him about it. Our heart pounds and our thoughts run wild. Guilt overtakes us as we impatiently wait to see what God will say or do.
“Can you repay the damage you have done?“ They replied,
“We can work and try.” Then I told them the price, and they hung their heads and said, “No. It would take forever for us to earn that much.”
Romans 3:20 says, “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight…”
Just like Ben and his friend could not repay me if I demanded it right now, we could never repay the debt of our sin. We can not be justified by works. This means that we can’t do enough good things, or earn enough, to repay the debt of sin. We have all sinned and fallen short, so all of us have been in this situation….just like Ben and his friend.
Jesus asks us, “Can you repay the debt of your sin?”
And some of us try. We work. We do good deeds. We try to live the best life we can.
But, it’s not enough. It’s not good enough.
And, really, the fact that Jesus is waiting to just forgive us and cover the debt for us, is so much better than trying to work it off. I mean, imagine being Ben, and me saying,
“Ok. You can either work for the next three years, everyday, and give me every dollar you earn. OR, I can just forgive you and pay the debt for you.”
I mean, really? Is this even a choice? But do you know how many people choose option 1 and spend their lives trying to work off the debt of sin? Going to church. Reading their Bible. Giving to the poor. Helping others. Volunteering time. Saying prayers.
All these things are good, but they don’t earn you money to repay your debt. You could never earn enough. The only way your sin can be repaid is through blood. There has to be a death. And, Jesus did that for us. He died so we would not have to die.
Romans 3:21-25, (I love the New Living Translation of these verses.)
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”
Amen. Thank you, Jesus. I want that. I want to be free from my sin by just believing. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life working and wondering if it will ever be enough. I want to live in freedom knowing that my debt was already paid.
“What will you learn from this experience?” They replied,
“We will never do that again.”
I smiled and thanked God for His patience with me. How many times have I told the Lord I would not do something again?? Too many. But, every time, He is waiting to forgive me. His love never runs out. His forgiveness never dries up.
So, while I have a pretty strong feeling that Ben might get caught up having fun and do the same thing he did to break our TV, I also believe that he will remember this moment. He will always remember how he felt when he made such a bad mistake. And, I believe it taught him more about my love for him and God’s love for us all.
Now, it was time for Ben to ask me a few questions….
“How will we tell Dad? He’s going to be really upset.” To which, I replied,
“I will tell him for you, babe. I will tell him at just the right time and in just the right way. Don’t worry about it.”
This is exactly what Jesus does for us. He is our advocate. The one person who stands between God and us. When God is ready to judge us, Jesus is standing there saying, “Wait. She’s with me. I covered her sin.” And we are free from sin and able to partake in all the goodness of God. We are able to be in His presence without fear.
Romans 5:1-2; 8-9,
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.”
So, I waited for just the right moment, which came a few days later. I shared with Clay how God had used this moment to teach Ben and his friend….and me….an important lesson. We talked about what happened, but in the end I told him that I prayerfully handled it how I believed God was leading me. To which Clay responded with a smile. Chapter closed. Story over. We haven’t discussed it again.
Clay never went to Ben and said, “Tell me what you did.” Or demanded that he repay the loss. Clay heard me out and agreed that the situation was handled and it was over.
It is the same with God. We come to Jesus…all broken and in a mess…and Jesus covers us with His robes of righteousness. He makes us clean. He puts us back together. When we truly believe in Him and surrender our lives, He makes us beautiful. God doesn’t come behind Him and take off the robe and look underneath. He doesn’t question us and make us repeat everything over again. He sees the beauty, and He welcomes us in to His presence. We avoid His condemnation because of Jesus.
“What will Sam and Grace say?” Ooh. I had to take a deep breath and think for a second.
Because Ben is the baby of the family, there is already some sibling tension. (I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about, right?) So, I couldn’t be sure how they would handle it. The truth is, we are all affected by Ben’s mistake. Everyone in the family used that TV at times, so we’ve all lost something.
This is a picture of the members of the Body of Christ, the Church, and how we handle each other when someone sins. Do we yell and scream at our brothers and sisters? Do we blame them and become angry toward them? Do we shun them? Do we remind them how stupid that decision was and tell them over and over again how big the price of the mistake will be?
Or, do we recognize the repentance in their heart? Do we recognize the guilt and remorse? Do we treat them like Jesus does and love them? Do we imagine how we would feel in their situation?
I told Ben that I wasn’t sure how Sam and Grace would react, but I was praying that they would react with love. I reminded him how one person’s sin usually affects many. We sometimes think that we can make decisions that will only impact ourself, but it just isn’t true. The lives of every person who is connected to us, in anyway, are impacted when we make the wrong choice.
Love others. Forgive, as Christ has forgiven you. Be patient with those in your life. Remember, they have to be patient with you, too.
“Mom, will you be able to fix the TV?” This is a good one. This is the hardest part. I replied,
“No, Ben. I feel very confident that the TV is ruined, and we will not be able to replace it. We just won’t have a TV in our game room for a while.”
There is always a consequence to our sin. Although there is forgiveness and mercy, there are still consequences. Today, Ben is forgiven. He is back in a good, healthy relationship with Clay and me. No one is mad at him, or reminding him of what he did. Our household is at peace. But, no one is watching TV in our game room.
This is why Jesus practically begs us to live our life for Him. It is one thing to believe on Jesus and be saved from your sin. It is another thing, entirely, to live for Him everyday. But, His word is filled with promises that you can claim, if you surrender your life and live for Him. If you choose to continue to run your own life, try to work your way to heaven, or live with one foot in the world and one foot in church….you are missing out.
You are burdening your life with consequences that are unnecessary and you are missing out on a life filled with joy and peace that is unexplainable.
I hope this ministers to you today. If you read this and the Holy Spirit is pulling on your heart, ask yourself if you’ve allowed Him to cover your sins. Have you really believed on Jesus and surrendered your life to Him. If not, read Romans. The book of Romans lays out the Plan of Salvation beautifully. Read and it and let God speak to you.
If you are trying to work your way to Heaven, read Romans 5 and I Corinthians 1:18-31. This is all about Jesus. We can’t do anything on our own because there can be no pride in us when we stand before Him. Surrender your life and let Him live through you.
If you have surrendered your life, follow His Word and ask Him to help you live free of sin. Don’t burden your life with unwanted consequences. Seek Him in every decision. Live in the Word and let His peace cover you. Trust Him with your life.
In the end, it was just a TV. So many people in our lives that have been affected by the recent flooding, have learned the lesson that material things are just things. Who cares if we have a TV in the game room? Not me. I’m thankful today for the way God uses every situation to speak to us. Make sure you are listening to Him today.
Love you! Kristy.