While spending time with my family, I was reminded of an old story. I had turned 16 and I was trying to pass my driver’s license test. It would eventually take me four times to pass but that is another story. I was excited and I wanted to do something nice for the family minivan, and wanted to thank my parents for letting me drive the minivan. I decided I was going to wax the van. The whole story seems innocent enough at this point. Except I have to confess I don’t think I’d ever really waxed a vehicle much at this point in my life and had only really every seen my dad wax his motorcycle on sunny Sunday afternoons. I could have asked what the right kind of wax was, but of course I did not. I reached for where I knew my dad kept his motorcycle wax. What I grabbed wasn’t normal car wax. What I grabbed was something called “Blue Corral”. This wax was meant to only wax things by inch squares because it’s so high powered it will dry within minutes. It activates even more so over time and on warmer days. It’s a high powered wax. Not knowing all of this, I applied the wax in swirls all over the minivan. I even took a break and talked to my friend as the sun beat down on me working outside.
When I went to take the wax off the minivan I knew right away something wasn’t right. I couldn’t get the swirls off. I thought maybe it was just me so I started wiping harder. But the wax still wouldn’t come off. When I finally confessed to my dad what I’d done, my parents were not happy with me. We all as a family came out trying to use more elbow grease than we thought possible to get the wax off the car. A few years later when my parents finally traded that minivan in, they traded it in with traces of car wax still on it. Though we all tried and made some progress that wax was baked on the minivan.
While my intentions here were good. I had been trying to do a good thing; the consequences of my actions weren’t so good. I ruined the finish on my parents’ vehicle. I felt horrible.
Good intentions don’t always make a situation right. In my case no matter how hard I tried to explain I was trying to do something good, it wouldn’t take away the fact the van still had wax swirls all over it.
1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV)7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
It can be very easy when situations happen to judge the situation. I learned a long time ago, and perhaps this is one of the instances I needed to learn it, to try to separate what happened from the person’s intentions. If God is able to look to the heart of a matter shouldn’t I try to look at it too? That doesn’t mean I excuses for bad behavior, but it means that maybe I try to look at the heart of the situation. We’ve all made mistakes. This was one of my many.
When you make a mistake you want someone to show you mercy. This doesn’t mean you become a doormat to people. It just means that perhaps when people make an accident, you take it for what it is. A mistake. Forgiving others sets you free from becoming bitter and angry. Forgiveness allows you to move forward with your life. Forgiveness is not a weakness but an empowerment to shut the door from the pain and move forward. When you have Jesus and you’ve asked for forgiveness, God doesn’t see your mistakes anymore. Whatever you’ve done in your past though you can’t take the “car wax off” the consequences might still be there, but God doesn’t see the mistake anymore. If God doesn’t see the “car wax” then why should you?
Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!