Do you remember when you were little, and your parents or someone else would tell you that God is watching everything you do? Like Santa Claus and his list of naughty and nice kids. Man, I was always paranoid about this. Especially in my hormone-raging teenage years when I was, uh, exploring the beauty of God's most beautiful and arousing creation - girls!
I got a list of things I figure I'm going to be questioned on when I get up there.
Okay, the house lights go down, Cue me coming on stage from the right with a single light following my person - loud thunderous noise and Cue up God setting in a big ol' chair center stage, with St. Peter beside him operating a power point projection showing one screw up scene from my life after another. St. Peter saying " please explain Sheila and the lakehouse incident." "Please explain pouring salt on a that snail". "Please explain lying to the teacher about the goat eating your homework"... it goes on and on and on. My mouth is wide open. Dang it - He saw all of that.
So I used to try and counter my "mistakes" with some good stuff, you know, like going to church (even when I didn't want to), holding doors open for old ladies, staying awake during history class, you know, the important stuff. That way, when God has me center-stage, I got "yeah, but didn't you see that other stuff too?". I mean, what is this, a one-way street, you only catch the bad stuff?
I had a boss like that. I worked in a grocery store in high school, carrying out groceries, stocking shelves, that kind of thing. I would work after school and every saturday as well. Always working or doing something... but the one time I would get a Coke and a snack, and set down for a break, inevitably the Assistant Manager would walk up. Also had a coach like that. I couldn't hit the ball in baseball, but when I did, he would always be looking the other way. No credit for the good stuff.
Somewhere along my journey, the concept of forgiveness crept into my litte consciousness. We always HEAR about forgiveness, mainly that we are to forgive others, (which is a very healthy thing for us to do) but we hear little about forgiving ourselves. I would ask God for forgiveness for Sheila at the lakehouse or pouring salt on that snail, but I would never really expect it. The formula was to ask. So I did. Jesus says "to love your neighbor as yourself". Dang, thats hard to do when you don't love yourself because of all the baggage, whatever it is, that we still carry.
I think it was my Emmaus Walk that the concept finally set in and held. It is about Grace. Totally. I never got it before. I am one that doesn't except Grace well. You know, something free has to have a catch. And yep, sure enough, Grace does have a catch. Or at least it does for me. I have to accept it. I have to admit I'm not perfect, never will be, and God isn't up there just watching the BAD STUFF. He is watching ALL THE STUFF - GOOD AND BAD. And He loves us just the same.
So I look stage left, and que up my children while the power point presentation of my screw-ups fade to darkness. They are great kids. They make mistakes. They will pour salt on snails and have homework issues and god forbid, lakehouse incidents. And I will catch them, cause thats what I do. I will also love them, cause thats who I am. And that is who God is. I am forgiven. And I forgive myself.