After I put Lauren down for a nap today, Jackson insisted he needed to go to the bathroom one more time before resting this afternoon.
Five minutes later, I was summoned back to the bathroom with Jackson yelling, “Mom, the toilet’s clogged!”
Apparently, he thought it was necessary to use the entire roll of toilet paper for his excursion, leaving the toilet full to the brim with tissue.
I wanted to immediately launch into some sort of angry tirade about wasting toilet paper, making messes and “what were you thinking?” He knew that’s what I wanted to do. After all, this is not the first time this has happened.
What I did next was not what he was expecting. I told him to wait right there and not touch anything, went downstairs, collected some grocery plastic sacks and returned to the scene.
Then, I explained that he was going to unclog the toilet himself.
I helped him wrap the plastic sack around his arm, gave him instructions, and held another sack out to receive the soaked paper. It took awhile to pull out all that he had dumped in. He got very messy, as did the toilet and the floor. After he had taken out enough paper to actually flush, then he wiped off all the areas in the bathroom that fell victim to his poor decision. I can say for certain that he did not enjoy the experience.
Afterward, he was relieved to wash his arms, up to his elbows, with as much soap as he desired. When I came back from washing up, he was still applying the soap, which he had to wipe up from his stool and the floor after he had rinsed off.
We all make poor decisions on a regular basis, some that have more far-reaching consequences than others. Often, when we realize our lives are clogged with sin, which is usually when we are backed into a corner, we cry out for God to forgive and save the day.
But, what if God forgives but does not save the day? How will we react if God cleans our hearts but then expects us to clean up the mess?
That just doesn’t seem fair to us. Most of the time, we whine and complain, and even dig deeper into sin to avoid the clean-up of our sin’s aftermath. Essentially, we make it worse. We don’t want to forgive others, or ask forgiveness of others. We don’t want to deal with the punishment for our actions, the privileges revoked or relationships broken. We want it all to go magically back to the way it was before the whole mess started.
God’s forgiveness and restoration don’t work that way. Often the very best way God can teach us how to depend on him and understand the gravity of sin so we truly turn from our ways is to allow us to actively be a part of the messy cleanup. However, it’s not something we are just left on our own to accomplish. God is there with us, helping us through each step, even if those consequences last the rest of our lives.
God is still good, and he is always faithful, even if after our confession there is work to be done to make right what we did wrong. Fairness is not the goal. The molding of our lives to conform to the image of Christ is.