Knowing myself, I go to the expense of having good insurance and when I first filed the claim I had a similar experience of grace. The nice woman on the phone had to ask a few questions like: How fast were you going? Did you have your seat belt on? Was anyone hurt? I told her the only thing hurt was my pride and the rear panel of the car. She said, “Don’t feel so bad; you are literally the second client in a row to call with the exact same accident.” I don’t know if that is true, but I sure appreciated her saying so.
When I took it in to the body shop and was again asked how it happened, the guy taking care of me said, “Stuff like this happens every day; you would not believe it.” When I told him how bad I felt, he had this knowing look on his face. He said, “You know, life sometimes just happens.”
It may sound strange, but that look and those words from the manager at the body shop really helped me to stop beating myself up and begin dealing with the issues surrounding this incident including, at the urging of my wife, how I might avoid repeating it in the future. It also occurred to me that if this kind of calamity happens every day and at least some of the people in the world get as bent out of shape as I do about it and keep beating themselves up… then it’s a good thing there are gracious people around, like my wife and that woman in claims and the guys at church and this guy at the body shop, to say things like, “you’re not the first today “ and “you know life happens” and “we’ve all been there.”
This incident reminds me a lot of how the experience of God’s love, what we call grace, helps me deal with other mistakes I make in my life which are much worse -- times when I make poor choices. Times when instead of running into the garage door, I run over somebody’s feelings. Sometimes we call this kind of messing up, sin. It happens, to quote the guy at the body shop, “every day.” And when mistakes happen, when we sin… our faith in a loving, forgiving, gracious God allows us not to ignore it or hide it or offer excuses… but to deal with it.
In the Gospel of John Chapter 8, Jesus meets a woman who has messed up her life. Some of the religious authorities are pressing Jesus to make a judgment on her, so they can stone her to death. Jesus says to them, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” They walk away. And then Jesus turns to the woman. He doesn’t say, “Now, first you should spend a lot of time beating yourself up.” He says, “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” She says, “No one, Master.”
Then Jesus says, “Neither do I; go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”
Even though I believe Jesus is saying the same thing as all the rest of the people who helped me stop beating myself up about my car, I’m still going to keep my car and homeowners insurance paid up.
Keep the Faith,