When our older son Knox was around 4-years old, he was given my husband’s vast collection of Matchbox cars. Included in the throng were sleek sportscars and fire trucks with moveable ladders, brightly colored convertibles and a Volkswagen bus to take to the beach. It was a treasure trove of painted steel from the 1970’s and 80’s.
One day, Knox and I went on an errand to Old Time Pottery, and he took one of the sportscars with us. Now if you’ve never been to one of these giant stores, just imagine a small nation filled with things like bath mats, novelty holiday dishes, and kitchen gadgets. Now imagine that the whole place smells like artificial flowers. I literally could roam around there for hours.
At some point on this particular trip, Knox lost that little Matchbox car which he had brought along. He didn’t realize it was gone until we were checking out, and he became frantic. “We have to find it!” he cried. “It’s Daddy’s favorite!” We left the cart of paid items by the entrance and retraced our steps. We went up and down all the aisles we had visited, peeking under shelves and digging through bins of throw pillows, but no luck. That black Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with a golden bird painted on the hood was gone.
Now you should know that Brent, my dear husband, isn’t one of those sentimental collector-type people. He doesn’t know where his first grade report card is and he doesn’t have a binder of prized baseball cards up in the attic. That’s just not his thing. But when Knox lost that car, that little boy’s only thought was disappointing his daddy.
That night, Knox confessed about the lost car, and my husband assured him all was well. Brent wasn’t angry. He wanted Knox to try to be more responsible (or as responsible as a 4-year old can be), but Brent emphasized that he was totally forgiven. I believe our little fella felt a measure of relief initially when he was granted a complete pardon, but he never let go of his desire to reclaim that lost car. Now that Knox is 17-years old and driving his own Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with a golden bird painted on the hood (Just kidding…but wouldn’t that be crazy?!), he still talks about that day with a timbre of tragedy and regret in his voice akin to Romeo’s final speech before drinking the poison. In fact, anytime we pass Old Time Pottery, Knox brings up that lost car even though it never ever crosses Brent’s mind.
I think we all do this from time to time. We’re told we’re forgiven, but we hold on to what we did wrong. It’s like being given the greatest gift, but we’re too wrapped up in ourselves to fully accept and be grateful for it. So we turn to the Scriptures and read how to view this gift of forgiveness. Ephesians 2:8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”