We went to the park last week and I totally forgot to bring snacks. Rule #1 of parenting is always have enough snacks. Always, always, alwaysalwaysalways.
My firstborn asked for a snack and I suddenly realized I’d left the bag in our entryway at home.
“I’m so sorry,” I told him. “The snacks are at home. We will get one after we leave the park. I know you’re probably hungry.”
His giant blue eyes filled with tears and I prepared for the worst. Meltdown, tantrum, high-pitched wail, you name it. And many days, that’s what would have happened.
But this day? His eyes filled with tears, he wiped them away, and he said, “That’s okay, Mommy. Everyone makes mistakes.”
It’s a mantra in our house. Potty accident? Everyone makes mistakes. Spilled juice? Everyone makes mistakes. Bumped your little brother while running through the living room? Ditto.
I just didn’t know he’d internalized the lesson until now. Bless him. I hope it sticks.
I expect my husband to forgive me when I mess up. My parents and siblings, too. Most friends, I’ve found, are pretty kind when I come to them with an apology.
But what about God?
And what about when the things I do are not mistakes, accidents, or mishaps, but instead just straight-up sin?
Somehow I have a really hard time believing that he wants to forgive me for being selfish again. For forgetting to spend time with him again. For ignoring a person in need, choosing Netflix over Nahum, making plans without consulting him, filling my prayers with “I want’s” instead of “I love you’s.”
We all struggle with sin. As the ancient prayer of confession from the Book of Common worship states, “We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, both by what we have done and by what we have left undone.” Truth.
One of the hidden gems of Scripture is the book of Lamentations. It’s filled with God’s people pouring out their heartache over their sin. They’ve screwed up, and (for once) they’re admitting it.
Jerusalem has been destroyed by Babylon, and the people of God sit in the ashes and weep. They have caused this. Their sin. Their worship of idols. Their turning from God.
It’s a sad, heart-wrenching, chastening book. A reminder that sin is serious and God is serious and we wander from him at our own peril.
But even amidst the mourning, pain, and realizations that sin has consequences, all is not lost. From Lamentations 3:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
The city lies in ruins, but the people of God are not consumed. There are consequences for sin, but compassion continues nonetheless.
And our new chances? They never. Run. Out.
New every morning.
Praise the Lord.