Daddy, I was in an Accident
I got the phone call that puts a line of chill fear down any parent’s back. “Daddy, I was in an accident.” I felt my stomach tighten up until she followed up with “everyone is okay, but the car isn’t.” I confirmed she was okay and told her the car was the least of my worries. I can replace a car, I could never replace her. Then she added something that really troubled me. The wreck happened the night before and she didn’t call then because she was afraid I would be angry and yell at her. She thanked me for NOT yelling at her that next morning when she finally called me.
I will be honest, I wasn’t happy she totaled the car and we’ll need to find a new car now, but I didn’t even think about yelling at her. Accidents happen and even though it was technically her fault, she wasn’t doing anything stupid to cause the accident. So why would she be so afraid to call me? Was it because of how I have acted in the past? Possibly. Was it because she didn’t think I cared about her? I sure hope not. Was it a presupposition that parents will always be mad hearing the news that their kid wrecked the car and it was the kid’s fault?
I believe it was that last thought. When I think back to my own teen years and a fender bender I had, I remember I was afraid to tell my dad for the very same reason. We assume our parents will be mad at us. That they will preach to us about our stupidity and irresponsibility. They will make us feel even worse than we already do. Most of the time they aren’t that angry, and we worried for nothing. However, with all that said, there are some consequences to our actions; even if it’s only financial.
Let’s take that to a spiritual level. We mess up our lives and know it’s our fault, but we are so afraid to bring it to God because we are convinced he is going to yell at us in his “Righteous Indignation.” So, we wait, we stew, we try to figure out how to justify ourselves before we go to God with the issue. We brace ourselves for the yelling, but it never comes. We fail to understand that God forgives us and worries for our spiritual welfare.
Are there some consequences for what we have done? Yes, sometimes there are. There might be a physical reminder of our action or even emotional damage. More often than not, however, we have a much harder time forgiving ourselves than God does; just like a kid and parent.
Save yourself a lot of pain. When you screw up spiritually…sin… Go to God right away and ask for forgiveness. The consequences we may have to deal with in this life are much less than the consequences of unforgiven sin in the next life.