“Do not be afraid of confession!”
It’s always amazing to imagine what your kids will do when they grow up. This weekend my wonder turned slightly toward concern as I determined that my 4-year-old, Norah, will either be the next James Bond, or more likely the Bonnie to a future Clyde. It began with her "innocently" swiping her older sisters’ lip gloss, or as Norah says, "hip gloss." We tried to patiently explain to our youngest about respecting other people’s possessions and asking before taking. Then while the sisters were getting their haircuts, Norah came over and asked to give me a hug as I chatted with our friendly hairdresser. A few minutes later when I stood up to leave, I felt something bulky in my pants pocket. I pulled out a large bottle of nail polish. The hug was simply a decoy! I asked Norah if this was hers and she nodded no. I told her calmly to put it back as our hairdresser gave a kind wink. On the ride home, I explained to Norah that that was stealing and that in any other store the police might come. The next morning, one of her older sisters brought Norah in and showed me two more hip glosses that 007 swiped from Target the night before. I told Norah to get changed and that we would be going to pay for these and apologize. All hell broke loose. Norah was screaming because she was afraid of the police. Peter and the older girls were crying for who knows why and I thought to myself, "Dan, is this really necessary? It’s just lip gloss. You’ve got a lot going on." We went anyway and as Norah screamed "why, why?" with terror on the short drive that felt like forever, I kept repeating that God doesn’t expect us to be perfect but He does expect us to own our mistakes and make it right. The high school boy working at Target had no idea what to make of us as I explained the situation. Norah said she was sorry and then I had her give the boy some money to pay for her crime.
As we drove home, I couldn’t help but think about all the times in the last week I didn’t own my mistakes. While they might not have been crimes and misdemeanors, there were a few moments where I rationalized why it was okay to react a certain way or, more likely, why I didn’t need to say I was sorry even though I was wrong. I heard my own words to Norah ringing in my ear and couldn’t help but feel a little hypocritical. The Lord takes all of our sin, why can’t I at least own mine? What mistake might you need to own this week? As happens quite frequently with 4-year-olds, Norah’s mood changed drastically to chipper and pleasant on the ride home. "Daddy, I feel much better." I affirmed the sentiment as the fruit of a good confession and I asked Norah what she learned from this experience. "That cute boys work at Target." Please pray for me and know I’ll pray for you this week!