This is the 6th of a series of 15 devotionals from the late 80s when my oldest sons were just little boys …
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for little children to admit that they have done something wrong?
At our house, it is always “my brother” who was wrong. It is always the other guy who “took that away from me” or “hit me first.”
Even at age two they are able to shift the blame for a fault. Aaron has the same habit as his older brothers of helping himself to the cookies and crackers in the pantry (the all-time most frequently-committed crime in our house).
One day after getting into the cheerios and wheat chex he got his animal friends out, lined them up, and then gave them a mommy-like lecture … “Why did you make this mess; I’m going to spank your bottom!”
Around that same time he took Diana’s face firmly in his hands and sternly said, “Look at me, were you a bad boy; did you get the crackers out?”
Surely though, none of you will be surprised to hear that Benjamin has been the worst for getting food out of the pantry, refrigerator, freezer, etc. He has been spanked innumerable times for these capers. What I can’t believe about him is that when he sees you coming at him, he will quickly stuff as much as he can in his mouth before the spanking hits.
One day I went to our chest freezer in the cellar and found a bag of thawed chicken parts on the lid. An investigation of three local suspects yielded nothing. I took them to the basement and to the scene of the crime, where Benjamin accidentally confessed by saying, “That felt like a bag of bones yesterday.”
At the supper table, Nathan is a typical little boy with the bad habit of wiping his hands on his pants. Diana was particularly concerned one night recently when we had beets with the meal. Sure enough, the dirty hands headed under the table and Diana said, “Nathan, did you just wipe your hands on your pants?” And he said, “No mommy, I really didn’t.” She said, “Yes you did, I saw you do it!” Nathan said, “I really didn’t because I wiped them on the chair!”
Nathan can also at times make profound theological observations. Not long ago he had a mild head cold, which for Nathan is a major disease (he has been incredibly healthy and in fact has not missed a Wednesday night Awana meeting in three years). He was frustrated with constantly having to blow his nose and said, “I wish Adam and Eve had never sinned because then we wouldn’t get colds!”
Speaking of Adam and Eve, not only were they the first sinners, but they were also the first to shift the blame for what they had done. Adam blamed the “woman you gave me” and Eve blamed the serpent.
David went for months with unconfessed sin, knowing it was wrong, yet unwilling to face it. He couldn’t get away from it, saying, “My sin is ever before me.” But in time, David faced his sin, confessed it, and experienced God’s forgiveness.
Theologically, confession is agreeing with God as to the nature of sin – calling it what it is – seeing it as God sees it.
How very often though we are like little children – unwilling to face our wrong and call it what it is: sin.