Chalk it up as one of the dumbest things I’ve done. I’m known to be a little “distracted” at times and do klutzy stuff, but this takes the cake.
I decided to walk to a nearby outdoor mall during my lunch hour. It was a nice, cool autumn day and I need to get more exercise. I had a pair of old tennis shoes under my desk for such occasions so I changed my shoes, grabbed my lunch money and iPod and headed downstairs and out into the parking lot. There’s a bank right next to our office building and a new road right next to the bank. They’ve torn it up several times and fixed things and had done it again last week. There were orange and white barrels along the end of the road so that no one could turn onto it from busy Olio Road and they had put in a nice, new reddish brick-looking pathway through the median. I was working my way up to a zippy pace and had just started across that new pathway when all of a sudden my foot sunk down about 8 inches with the other one following in a stumble and I found myself up to my ankles in wet, reddish-orange concrete. I jumped out with heart pounding. Oh no! I looked around quickly to see if any of the construction guys were around. They’d be so ticked! I mean this wasn’t just a little scratch in their finely crafted new sidewalk, this was two deep gaping holes. I tried to rub my shoes off on the grass, then touched them with my fingers. The stuff was already drying and wouldn’t budge. Oh great. What am I going to do now?!
I stepped backward across the street and turned to walk, or shuffle, as quickly as I could to my van. I had a bunch of napkins in there and tried to brush off as much as I could as I continued to grumble to myself, “Man, my shoes are ruined! Look it’s on the legs of my jeans, too. Argh.” I was so embarrassed, wondering how many had seen my goof from the street and gotten a big laugh as they drove to lunch somewhere.
I hopped in my van and went home to change. Fortunately the construction guys were not out there at the time. In my defense, there was nothing blocking the path, no signs saying “wet concrete” or “do not cross” which would have been helpful! It looked solid as I approached. Alas it was not. Yikes.
Today my friends at work and I were laughing about it and one of them asked, knowing I love to blog about stuff I learn from life, “How will you link a lesson to this?” Hmmm…we brainstormed a bit and came up with something. If you come up with something to add, post it in the comments. I’d love to hear.
My goof was hilariously obvious to anyone who happened to be looking. There would be no doubt to anyone who happened to be there about who had messed up the sidewalk. That would be me with the giant, crusty, orange, boot-like feet. There was no way to quickly wipe it off or hide it. I was wearing the thick, globby evidence of my mistake.
We can’t really hide our mistakes or bad choices for long either, especially from God. In fact, when we come near Him and stand in his holy light, the mess we’ve stepped in is all over us, plain to see.
One day a long time ago when my girls were really young, I baked a pan of brownies and set them on the kitchen counter to cool. I went to do something else and when I came back a little bit later there was a gaping hole in the middle of the brownies and a step stool by the counter. I stifled a laugh and went to find the culprit. My youngest, only two at the time, was walking away from me down the hall. “Kristine….did you take some of my brownies?” She turned around and looked up at me with her big brown eyes, “No, Mommy” she said tentatively with chocolate smeared around her mouth, on her shirt, and all over her cute little grubby hands.
We might as well fess up and be real with ourselves and with God. There’s an old saying “confession is good for the soul.” Some may disagree, but it’s true. Owning up to what we’ve done, good and bad, keeps us free. It’s a lot less work to just admit something than to keep trying to cover it up. And…if we confess it to God and ask Him to forgive us, he washes it away! That feels a lot better.
It’s best to do it right away, too, and not linger with guilt. The stuff we’ve stepped in, like that concrete, gets hard and crusty and starts making it difficult to walk or keep moving along the path.
So, to the construction guys on Olio Road, I’m sorry I stepped in your sidewalk! (You should’ve put a sign up – I’m just sayin’). It was me, I admit. I sure hope it washes out of my shoes and jeans.
Joshua [or any of us], standing before the angel, was dressed in dirty clothes. The angel spoke to his attendants, “Get him out of those filthy clothes,” and then said to Joshua, “Look, I’ve stripped you of your sin and dressed you up in clean clothes.” Zechariah 3:3-4
…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus… Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
If we claim that we’re free of sin, we’re only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won’t let us down; he’ll be true to himself. He’ll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. I John 1:8-9 The Msg