It’s been very stressful the last couple days trying to move all our belongings into a new home. We’ve had boxes everywhere and we’ve been running all over the place trying to get things done that need done. Naturally, being new to the neighborhood, we want to make a good impression on those around us. Some of our neighbors have come by to say hi and exchange pleasantries, so when I saw a man walking up to me in the backyard I went over expecting the normal greetings and went over to shake hands and say hi.
But this neighbor was not coming over to be friendly. After shaking his hand, he immediately stated that my pickup truck had hit his mailbox and caused some damage. I was not at all aware of this, but the new dent in my pickup with scratches to match was pretty hard to dispute. But the real problem wasn’t that we hit the mailbox, but that we left without saying anything.
I don’t blame the man for being upset. I have to admit that it is pretty hard to believe a person could hit something and not know it, but I certainly didn’t know it. So either I did it or my wife hit it. Either way, I feel like I’m off to a very rough start in the neighborhood. They guy isn’t buying us not knowing. I find it very hard to believe that my wife would leave after knowing she hit a mailbox and not report it.
The mailbox can and will be repaired, but I’m not so sure our reputation can be.
The man’s response was, “God knows, He’ll take care of this.” I do believe one of hit the mailbox, but I can honestly say that if I hit the mailbox I didn’t know it. But what if I did? Is my crime deserving of eternity spent in never ending torment? Would that be the only thing that could quench this man’s thirst for retribution.
I didn’t do it, but I have done worse. I have tried very hard to live a reputable life, but if the truth be known, I have no claim on self-righteousness. I’m deeply ashamed for many things that just don’t match up to the life that I profess. I’m really hopeful that God’s grace will be enough for me to escape the fires of Hell, but if God is no more forgiving that many of the religious people I see these days, and if that really the outcome for those who don’t measure up, I’m certain I’m gonna burn.
I mentioned that I know it is possible because I have done similar. A few years ago I was fired for backing into a fence with a semi, and one thing I’m certain of is that I didn’t know it. I had made enough mistakes at that job anyway, that I didn’t dispute the termination. I once was driving a forklift too fast on wet and slippery floors which caused me to crash into a door. I’m lucky I didn’t kill somebody. I also pictured a big tote of paint while putting it into a trailer. Both careless accidents that cost a company a lot of money. It also caused some unnecessary work because of my negligence. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t think I should burn for eternity for it.
What disturbs me the most about all this is I don’t see any chance to make things up to the man. Sure I’ll pay for the mailbox, but that won’t repair a reputation or the relationship. Perhaps this shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I think everybody likes the
God give me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference.
If I’m to be honest, and i have no reason to be otherwise, I haven’t been very good at accepting those things I can’t change. Serenity has never come easy for me, and I can’t say that God has answered that pray for me. One thing I do believe God has taught me is forgiveness. My reaction to offenses isn’t always the best, but my understanding of how people do some of the things they do, does make me a bit more empathetic and forgiving.