Story by 18-Year Old Caleb Houser
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
I was six-years-old, shopping with my parents, and found the coolest remote control car. It was red, looked so fast, and I just had to have it. I asked Mom if I could get it. She said NO. Now, the right thing to do at this point would be to accept mom’s answer and move on, to ‘honor your father and mother.’ Maybe I had a little bit of the WWII era British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, in me at the time. One of his family members said, “‘no’ is an answer he never accepted.”
This seemed the perfect moment to be inspired by his example (though I had no idea who he was), and seek out a second opinion on this unwanted diagnosis my mom had handed down. So I went and found Dad and asked him if I could get the car. I conveniently left out the detail about Mom saying NO. He said YES! At this point the whole ‘honor your father and mother’ commandment came to mind again. I thought it best to focus on the ‘father’ part of that verse.
I grabbed the car off the shelf, relieved to finally have the coveted prize in hand. But now I had a logistical problem. How would I make it out of the store without Mom stopping me from attaining my goal? If she saw me with it, she’d march me right back here and make me put it on the shelf. I mean, maybe she’d do that. Maybe she’d be happy for me, or maybe she wouldn’t even notice. Just to be safe, to protect her from having to be upset unnecessarily, I asked Dad if we could go ahead and lock this baby down. “Can we buy it right now, and take it on out to the car?” “What’s the hurry son? Can’t we wait for the rest of the family?” Is he on to me?
“Uhmmm… it’s just that… I’d rather go ahead and get out of the store…” I’m not sure exactly what I said, but it worked. We went through the checkout line without her noticing and my new car was headed home.
Now another logistical problem presented itself. Once again, to protect my mother from struggling with any anger or sin in her own life, I needed to keep the car out of sight. I’ll also have to be careful to only play with it when she’s not around. This is starting to sound like a lot of work. Like, not as much fun as I thought it would be. But I’m willing to do it. For her of course.
We pull up to the house. We step out of the car. Dad grabs the shopping bag. We’re walking up to the door. Just a few more steps, we’ll be inside and I’ll be able to sneak it off to my room. Then it drops out of the bag. Mom’s eyes dart right to it, Then to my dad, then back to the car. “What’s this? I didn’t know you were also into remote control cars? And the same one Caleb wanted?”
Then it all came out.
My parents were not happy that I had deceived and manipulated them to get what I wanted. Not only had I deceived them, I had deceived myself, convincing myself it was ok to ‘honor’ my father and maybe not so much my mother.
We went right back to the store, remote control car in hand, and returned it. Boy that feeling of looking at the store clerk and having to explain why we were there as I handed it over…. Ugh, I don’t ever want to feel that again. I don’t want to break their trust like that again. I came home full of sorrow for my sin. I asked my parents to forgive me. They did and they quickly moved on. I asked God to forgive me too, and I sensed his loving forgiveness wash over me.
Here is the thing, we all have sinned. But if we confess our sin to God, He forgives us and washes it totally away. After we receive His forgiveness, we can walk in relationship with Him. I saw this with my parents too. They totally forgave me. In fact, I asked my Dad recently if he remembered this, and he didn’t (until now… oops). How is it this event, which seemed like such a huge deal to me, has faded to the background for my parents? That’s a powerful sign that they truly did forgive me. Part of forgiveness involves choosing no to hold something over the head of the person who offended you. Kind of like God, He says “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, but we have an awesome Savior in Jesus who died on the cross for us. It is a wildly amazing thing to have God’s forgiveness through Christ.
1. What happened when I asked my parents for forgiveness?
2. Even though I was forgiven, what consequences did I still face because of my sin?
God, thank you for forgiving us for our sins. We all sin against you. Help us to be quick to confess when we sin and quick to seek your forgiveness. Thank you for being quick to forgive and to cleanse us from our unrighteousness. Help us to fall in love with pleasing you every day. Help us to never resort to deceiving others just to get what we want.
Hand Motions Video
Quote about Winston Churchill taken from Winston Churchill As I knew Him, by Violet Bonham Carter p. 37.