From selling our home and relocating to getting a new metal storage building built to drying in the existing garage, the past year has been filled with a succession of steps moving toward an ultimate goal that is only now coming to fruition.
As I write this, I am finally in the process of turning that existing garage into what can effectively be called “my space”. Some might see it as a “man cave”, and others, perhaps, as a “library”. I prefer to call it my “writing laboratory”, as that will ultimately be the purpose for which it will exist.
Now that it has been dried in, sheet rocked, painted, floored, and shelved, I am finally to the point where I can retrieve my books and related items and unbox them. Trust me, doing so is like becoming reacquainted with old friends who have not been seen since the spring of last year when they were first boxed up and put into storage.
As I have been unboxing these varied items, I have come across more than one surprise. But none of them can compare with what happened earlier today. I opened a box labeled “Office Decorations” and found a statue of Jesus. To my sorrow, its arm was broken. But the distress I experienced at this discovery was short–lived once I read the note taped to the statue.
That note, in familiar handwriting, said: “This was already broken when I packed it up. Sorry.” It was then signed, with love, by my precious wife. When I showed it to her later in the day, she confessed that she did not even remember having packed the item or having written the note. We laughed and agreed that before the unboxing was over with, it is likely that many more items will be found to have been broken as well.
As I have studied on the episode, however, I have reached an insightful conclusion. Granted, neither I, nor my precious wife, may have ever actually broken Jesus’ arm. But just how many times has either of us ever broken His heart?!
The New Testament Gospel of Luke, chapter 23, verse 61, tells us that just after the Apostle Peter denied Jesus for the third time, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
Wow! Talk about breaking Jesus’ heart! Who among us has not read this verse and wondered how Peter could do such a thing? And yet, who among us has not essentially done pretty much the same thing?!
Oh, sure, we may not have ever actually denied Jesus. But have we not, by some inappropriate thought, word, or action, broken Jesus’ heart just as surely as if we had denied Him like Peter did?
For my part, I readily confess that I am guilty here. My wife, as good a person as she is, affirms the same sentiment for herself. What about you? Are you just as guilty as the two of us? If so, don’t talk to either of us about it. Talk to the One your thoughts, words, or actions have offended. Talk to Jesus about it!
By the way, the good news is that Jesus later forgave Peter. John 21:1-17 records how, after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus appeared to Peter on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, forgave him, and reinstated him to his position as leader of the Disciples.
What can we learn from this? We can learn that Jesus knows we, like Peter, are not perfect. He knows we all fall short. He knows we are all apt to let Him down from time to down. More importantly, He is willing to forgive all of us of our shortcomings if we are willing to confess them and attempt to do better. As the Amplified Version translation of First John, chapter 1, verse 9 puts it:
“If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose].”
For my part, I’ll gladly take Him up on this offer! What about you? Will you do the same? If not, just know that His heart will be broken in the process. And you will be to blame.