And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
It’s an old, old story…at least for we Taylors. As the baby of our family, I came along toward the tail end of so many good memories. Daddy and Mama had eight kids in all. They had five, apparently needed a break, and then decided to have three more. Well, I’m not sure how much it was a decision as it was a fact of life…no pun intended. There were plenty of tales in the Taylor household but like I said, some happened before I came along.
Daddy and Mama started out with three boys. From everything I know, they were all rough and tumble and that’s just the way it was. Well, apparently, one day things got a little out of hand. More on that in a few minutes. What you need to know now is that one day my Mama went out to use her washing machine and made a startling discovery. Someone had cut the hoses to the machine and the natural suspects were the three older brothers. I’m not sure why they were suspects unless that was part of their rough and tumble motif. I can’t verify it, but I would suspect that at some point, Mama said, “Just wait till your father gets home.”
Well, eventually he did, and Mama told him what had happened. He lined the boys up for a time of interrogation. They assured him that while they were rough and tumble, they weren’t stupid—there was no way they cut the hoses. Well, Daddy didn’t buy it. He was sure that they did. I’m not sure how long they were in the “police lineup” but eventually Daddy said if no one would confess they would all get punished…and they did. I don’t know if it was a switch or a belt, but they got a spanking. Case closed. Daddy was sure they wouldn’t be cutting anymore hoses.
Well, the only problem was this—they didn’t cut them in the first place. Several days later, one of their rough and tumble “friends” confessed to the deed. It turns out in their rough and tumbling the “friend” had gotten mad and decided to get a little revenge so…he cut the hoses. When word got back to Daddy, he called a meeting of “the boys.” Again, I wasn’t there but I heard it went something like this. “Boys, I found out you didn’t cut the hoses to the washing machine—your “friend” did it. Now, at this point in the story it would seem logical that Daddy would at least attempt to apologize for the undue punishment. That didn’t happen. Instead, he said something like this, “You probably needed the spanking anyway.”
I know, you’re thinking, “What! That’s not right. It’s not fair.” But don’t be too quick to cast judgement on my Daddy. The bottom line is he should have apologized, but that was a different time and we don’t know all the details. Sometimes it is hard for people to apologize…even when they are wrong. Can you identify with that? I know I sure can. Often the words, “I’m sorry” just couldn’t find their way off my tongue. And if you are a member of the human race, you have probably experienced that too.
Here’s what I do know. My Daddy was a good man, but he wasn’t a perfect man. He, like me, made mistakes. When I heard this story a long time ago, honestly, we probably all laughed. Later, I’m sure it made me think and I came to this conclusion. Instead of judging him for a lapse of judgement in a moment of time I decided to go with what I knew to be true. My Daddy loved them, and he loved me and that was simply enough. I was willing to let love cover a multitude of sins. I know God’s love has sure covered a big multitude of my sins…and I am grateful for that.
The big take away is this. If you find someone has cut your washing machine hoses the most likely suspect probably doesn’t live in your house—possibly but not probably. But more than that—always remember we are recipients of a whole pile of God’s grace and we should be willing to extend a little. Forgiveness is not for the person you’re forgiving—it is for you. A heart willing to forgive is a happy heart. And, when you find yourself against a rock and hard place trying to forgive someone who hurt you…just remember your Heavenly Father is an expert at forgiving and trust me, “He’s got this.”