Just recently I got a new truck. I'm almost 40 years old, and I've never had a new vehicle that was all my own, until now.
The other night, Chloe spilled a Coke in it. Amy handed it to her to take a sip and instead of using two hands to hold the bottle, Chloe only used one. The bottle slipped from her grasp and ricocheted from Chloe's lap to the back of the seat to the floorboard.
Honestly, I wasn't upset. I knew when I bought the truck something was going to get spilled in it. Now the guesswork of when that will happen is over. The truck has officially been "broken in."
As I was wiping up the spill, trying to coax as much out of the carpet as I could with the napkins at my disposal, I noticed Chloe was crying. I asked her what was wrong. She said she was sorry for spilling the drink and that she was sad because she was always making mistakes.
Now, part of this was probably sincere. God gave Chloe a good, kind heart. She feels things very deeply.
Yet God also gave Chloe a healthy dose of drama. It's entirely possible that tonight's crying episode was sponsored, in part, by Chloe's alter-ego, "Laura Jean the Drama Queen."
"Chloe," I said, "Everyone makes mistakes. I'm a grown-up and I still make mistakes. No matter how old you get, you'll still make them. The most important thing is what you learn from them. What can you learn from this mistake?"
She thought for a moment and said, "I can learn to hold my drink with two hands."
I smiled. "That's a very good thing to learn. And it'll be helpful in the future."
Chloe's experience with the drink has some parallels to our experiences with sin. Everyone sins, no matter how old we get (Romans 3:23). Thankfully, our heavenly father forgives us of those sins when we repent and seek his forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
Yet once we've been forgiven, the questions remain: Is it enough just to seek God's forgiveness when we sin? Or does he expect us to learn from our sinful mistakes so we don't repeat them in the future?
If we reflect on the situation, we might learn to avoid certain tempting situations, keep a tighter rein on our tongues or hold our tempers in check. By doing this, we might learn how to avoid committing that sin again in the future.
I want Chloe to learn how to quit spilling drinks in my truck. Likewise, our heavenly father wants us to learn how to avoid continuing to sin.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears every other week in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com.