When I was a child my father smoked a tobacco pipe on a daily basis. At the time I did not know it, but he had kept this a secret from his extended family for many years, especially his mother. Only my immediate family who lived under the same roof knew about his secret but that was all about to change.
One Easter Sunday when I was maybe eight or nine years old we all woke up early and donned are best clothes that were reserved for only special occasions. My mother and sisters were all wearing their best dresses and my father and I were decked out in dress shirts and our spiffy ties. You see, it was Easter Sunday and we always went to grandma’s house for a big Easter lunch. I was filled with great anticipation as my mother was trying to straighten my tie and giving me the dreaded hair comb over with her hand. I was ready to go to grandma’s house!
Just as I thought we were getting ready to walk out the door, my father pulled me away into another room stating that he had to talk to me about something. As we entered the room I noticed that he had a very serious look on his face. I asked; what did I do, like any reasonable kid would do. He said what I have to tell you is very important so listen carefully. With great curiosity I listened as he told me that his extended family and most importantly his mother did not know that he smoked a pipe and he wanted to keep it that way. He made me promise him that I would not tell anyone about his secret and gave me a stern warning to keep my mouth shut on the subject if I did not want to deal with the consequences later. I agreed to keep his secret. After all, I did not want to be grounded on Easter Sunday!
So we were finally on our way to grandma’s house! It felt like an eternity on the 10 minute drive across town. In fact, I think it was too much time. You see my excitement for the day of festivities quickly turned to a war inside my head. I could not stop thinking about my conversation with my father. I was so afraid of slipping up and blurting out his well kept secret. I could not get it out of my mind. I became so obsessed with it that it was all I could think about. I finally decided, I would not let my father down.
We finally arrived at our destination and walked to the back yard to find a huge decorated table sitting in the middle of the yard. It was over flowing with all the delicious food that you could only imagine on a sunny Easter Sunday such as that one. We all gathered around the table with my father’s extended family including his mother and after saying grace, the feast was on!
Everyone was laughing and having a great time together as we all were filling ourselves with grandma’s home cooking. Well, everyone but me. I still could not shake the feeling that I would let dad’s secret slip. Every time I opened my mouth to say something I found myself policing my every word. I couldn’t take it anymore. This secret was too much for me to bear! Right in the middle of this fantastic dinner, I yelled “My dad smokes a pipe and he does not want you to know grandma”! I couldn’t believe the words that were leaving my mouth. Time seemed to go in slow motion as everyone at the table including my grandma all turned and looked at my father who had half a chicken wing hanging out of his mouth. The silence became deafening as I turned to see my father staring back at me. Fear gripped my heart and I knew that I would never see the light of day again. The whole atmosphere of the great Easter Sunday at grandma’s house changed. There was tension in the air the rest of that afternoon. What had I done!
At the conclusion of our dinner my mom loaded us all in the car and we went home. I didn’t say a word to my dad, I was too afraid to say anything. After all, I figured I had said enough. I thought the ride to grandma’s house felt like eternity but I was mistaken. The ride home in the same confined area with my father was the real eternity. As we pulled onto my street I knew that the apocalypse was close at hand. No one in the car had said a word the whole ride home (I think my little sisters were enjoying my humiliation due to the big smiles they had on their faces).
We pulled in the driveway and entered the front door of our house. My mother and my sisters all walked off their separate ways to their bedrooms to change their clothes while I stood one foot inside the front door planning my great escape. I couldn’t help but notice that my father stood only two feet inside the front door planning what I could only assume to be my punishment. Then suddenly my father said something I didn’t expect. He said “I forgive you son”. I couldn’t believe it as the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. I was not going to be punished for my crimes and disobedience against my father. He forgave me even though I deliberately went against his wishes. I never did hear another word about the incident and he never mentioned it again.
Would you have forgiven your child for being disobedient? If you were the father or mother in this story would you have not shown compassion to you son or daughter? Of course you would have. It is the same with our loving heavenly father. Though we sin against Him, He is always compassionate and forgiving to His children. Just like in the story, He forgives and will never mention your crimes against Him again if you would only believe.
Verse of the day:
25 “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. (Isaiah 43:25)
Challenge of the day:
Today I challenge to forgive someone. You may have anguish in your heart over what someone has done to you in the past. Today I want you to forgive them as your heavenly Father forgives you for you trespasses against Him. If you struggle with this then go to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you forgive that person. Ask Him to help you cleanse your heart of all unforgiveness.