He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7
I got caught…plain and simple. It was a long time ago, and I was just short of being a teenager, that I got caught. My sister and brother-in-law lived in Daytona Beach and once a summer they would invite me down to spend a week with them. I always thought it was pretty cool that they did that. But apparently, it wasn’t cool enough.
You see, every day, they would have to head off to work. They would leave early in the morning, and they would get home later in the afternoon but at different times. My brother-in-law would get home first and then about an hour later my sister would arrive. It was kind of them to invite me and trust me with the house during the day. There were only a few rules so it shouldn’t have been a big deal to follow them. Of the rules, there was one that was at the top of the list. It was, wait for it, don’t adjust the thermostat. It was hot, as it always was, in Florida in the middle of summer. So, one day, I decided to break the rule.
I’m not sure what prompted my act of ingratitude and rebellion, but I turned the thermostat down, way down. Then I sat back to enjoy the cool, cool air while the meter outside went round and round. My plan, and it was a good one, was simply to turn the air back up in time for the temperature to adjust before anyone got home. It was a good plan, but it wasn’t foolproof. Sometime, oh about 1:00 in the afternoon, I decided to go outside. So, with the air conditioner humming, I went outside and closed the door which promptly…locked. Yes, friends, I was locked out of the house with the air conditioning
Well, I stewed and fretted about what to do and the best I could come up with was to rush into the house as soon as my brother-in-law got home and turned the thermostat back up. Surely it would work. The fallacy was of course the temperature. There is a big different between a house that is supposed to be 78 degrees and one that is 65…a big difference. So, he came home, and I sneaked around and went to the thermostat and immediately turned it back up. Of course, it stopped running and it was then that I heard the voice of justice.
From the kitchen I heard these words, “Dewayne, did you mess with the thermostat?” Well, I knew the answer and so did he. I got caught red-handed. Now, I don’t remember the conversation that followed, nor do I remember if there were any consequences. But, let me tell you what I do remember. I remember the feelings of remorse that I had treated their kindness with disobedience. I felt it then and believe it or not I feel it some today. I may have been a young preteen, but I was old enough to know better and my conscience let me know it.
What was true then is true today…and rightfully so. Sometimes a guilty conscience is a more fitting punishment than anything else. I had betrayed their trust and that, at least to me, was a big deal. I only wish I had realized it before that little voice in my head persuaded me to adjust the thermostat. It’s possible in some small way I felt what Eve felt that day in the garden. The amazing thing is my sister and brother-in-law must have extended grace because it wasn’t the last time I was invited down. Oh, and by the way, I never messed with the thermostat again—never.
We all break rules. Some people break them more often than others, but we are all rule breakers and too often we break the ones God gave us in His Book. He gave them for our good, but we are just rule breakers by nature. The amazing part is He loves us so much that if we ask Him, He will extend grace not once or twice but over and over and over. I know that from experience.
More than once I have “turned the thermostat” down and got caught. But each time, when I asked, He met me with forgiveness and love. That is pretty amazing. No matter what you have going on or what rule you have broken, why not try asking Him for some grace. He loves you and He loves to forgive. He is a just God, but He is a loving God too. And no matter the deal, He can handle it. His grace is enough. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne