The blog has been on a bit of an unintentional hiatus. I just fell out of the routine, but as I’ve mentioned a number of times, it is one of my favorite things to do. It is a gift to carve out time to sit down at the computer and preach to myself. I need reminding of the most basic truths, and if a sweet family tidbit is preserved in the process then it’s a double blessing.
The family tidbit I’m about to tell you is from days gone past. But I hope your family is like mine — skilled at keeping some of life’s simple treasures on a semi-continual loop. This one is referenced in our house with fair frequency and it always brings a smile to my face.
Years ago when our older two sons both played three sports at a high level, the youngest was dragged on an almost-daily basis to some sporting event. When he was very small he packed a little backpack of cars and trains and books, but as he got older he fell in love with shooting hoops. If you know him, and he has requested that I not use his name in this post, you know that the obsession with shooting hoops has never waned. In fact, his fourth grade teacher expressed grave concern over how he chose to shoot hoops at recess over playing with friends. And my neighbor told me that, when we first moved in, the constant bouncing of the basketball practically prompted him to move. Fortunately his beautiful bride told me they quickly got used to it, and now when the ball isn’t bounced for long periods of time it feels like something is missing. Isn’t that the sweetest?
Anyway, one time we were kind of rushing out the door for a basketball game, and as we pulled out of our neighborhood, my youngest, at the time maybe five years old, realized he’d failed to properly prepare.
“What have I done?” he asked in a voice so mournful and sincere, you’d think he may have just killed a puppy.
What had he done? What was so, so terrible? He’d left his basketball at home. There’d be no shooting hoops during timeouts, at half-time or in an adjacent gym. He knew there was no time to turn around, and he was utterly distraught. What have I done?
It’s not hard to work in a distressed “What have I done?” for a laugh in our house. It’s a pretty user-friendly quotable, and yet I never tire of it.
But it’s not just hilarious, it’s wisdom. Isn’t it surprising that he didn’t blame me? Or his brothers? I can easily picture him saying, “Did you put my basketball in the car?” Instead, he took ownership of it and was sorry about it. What if this were common? What if I stopped blaming others for my own mistakes? What if I was just sorry about them?
Forgetting a basketball is not sin, but what if we applied this same repentant ownership to the sin in our lives? What if we didn’t make excuses? What if we didn’t try to blame people or circumstances? What if we just plain took responsibility? What if we accepted the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us away from sin?
A sermon I heard recently pointed out how the apostle Paul exhibited an increasing disdain for his own sin. In 1 Corinthians he calls himself “the least of the apostles.” (15:9). Then in Ephesians he calls himself “the very least of all the saints.” (3:8). Later still, Paul claims to be the “foremost” of sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15).
I like people who admit they’re sinners. So many try to project an image that is righteous. So many like to look down at the sins of others. But honestly, one type of person I have a hard time liking is the kind that says, “I’m a good person.” Self-aware sinners are my favorite. I want to be around people who say, “What have I done?” And I want to be that person. I want to be like Paul. The older I get the more grieved I want to be about the sin in my life because the corollaries are vital: (1) a posture of perpetual gratitude for the truth that Jesus paid for all my sins; and (2) the joy of knowing that Jesus loves me no matter what.
I hope you too admit you need a Savior. May we all embrace His offer of grace, and stop the inane and futile effort to prove ourselves worthy.
I love these lines from the old hymn:
All to Jesus, I surrender, Lord, I give myself to thee; Fill me with Thy love and power, Let Thy blessing fall on me.
Have a wonderful weekend.
P.S. I know a few of my readers interact with my sons on an almost daily basis. Can I ask that you not try to chat with them about anything on the blog? Not that I think any of you would, but as a member in a family of introverts my license to share stories is pretty tenuous, so I appreciate it.