Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finishing Strong

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Pro 28:13)

The night we played our first gig, someone dialed 911 at the church where we were playing. A couple of kids, messing with the phones. An officer showed up to respond to the false alarm, and of course, no one fessed up to the act.
That night I found out from my wife that, yep, that was my son. He couldn't take the guilt any longer and he told her about it. She'd left it to him to tell me the next day, and while I already knew the story, he didn't know that. Every time our eyes met throughout the day he looked like he was going to throw up. I'd walk up, give him a hug, scratch his head, tell him I love him... and he'd be limp as a noodle, devastated.
I let him overhear a conversation about how our witness is lost if we can't be true blue, if we can't be honest and truthful.
I knew he was churning inside.

When he finally worked up the nerve to tell me, it was gut wrenching. He poured it out like he just had to be rid of the feeling or he'd die. His punishment was already laid out. I told him he was going to take responsibility and own up to his actions. Apologize to the officer, apologize to the church, grounded, the list goes on.
He was dead set about not bringing this into the light. I told him,
"Son, you won't be a man in my eyes if you don't own up to your actions."
His heart sank, and he knew he'd have to go through with it.
We talked about temptations, when you find yourself in that moment of making one decision or another, and how important it is to realize that your choice is either going to take you one step closer to Christ, or one step further from Him.

Believe it or not, I don't regret that this happened. I'd rather he learn this lesson sooner than later. It's going to shape him, because whether we like it or not, we learn from our mistakes, our trials, our struggles.

Ever leave a load of dirty, wet laundry sitting in the laundry room for a few days? Those lovely odors of mildew and dirt seem to soak right into the paint on the walls.
You have to do the laundry. You have to wash off the dirt and clean up, daily, or else the mountain piles up and the stink will drive you out of the house.

We all make mistakes. We all fail. But if we keep making those mistakes over and over, and we don't learn from them, bring them into the light, or confess them, we'll never move on. The extra baggage weighs us down and life starts to reek.

In last week's sermon, our pastor said that if we want to finish strong we need to keep short accounts with God, studying His word and staying in prayer. At the end of that obedience is mercy and something much more.

This morning when my son woke up, our eyes met, and he smiled, forgiven.
I asked him, "Are we going to have a good day today?"
Then I asked, "Are we going to finish strong?"
In his 10-year old wisdom he then said to me,
"We're going to finish strong, and not just finish strong. We're gonna start strong, and in the middle, we're gonna stay strong."

Right on little man.

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