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Oops, I Did It Again
- August 11, 2016
- Ashlee Johnson
I’ve made an inordinate amount of costly blunders this summer. It’s embarrassing, actually. For starters, one afternoon I turned the sprinkler on in our backyard, which was toasted and dying in the face of oppressive summer heat. I went inside, busied myself with getting lunch for my kids, putting my daughter down for a nap, and playing with my son. Only when my feet hit the floor upon waking from a nap myself did it hit me – “I turned the sprinkler on 2 ½ hours ago!” Needless to say, we had a lake in our yard and an enormous water bill.
I also neglected the classic final walk-through of our room at a family reunion (four hours away) and we came home without my son’s beloved stuffed dinosaur. The cleaning company claimed they didn’t see it and Build-A-Bear no longer carries it. My five year old continues to ask when his dinosaur will come home in the mail. Heaven help me.
In an effort to ensure my daughter would nap and not wake up insanely early during the long, bright days of summer, I hastily ordered darkening shades for her room from Amazon…without measuring her windows! Duh. They charged us $18 to send them back. I also left my hair dryer and brushes at a lake house we visited with friends. Another $45 down the drain.
But my most costly and embarrassing blunder came several weeks ago in the midst of our usual Sunday morning rush. My husband is a pastor, so I was on my own with the kids on this “day of rest.” This particular morning my car was parked in an unusual angle in our driveway and in my haste to get on the road I scraped the back right side of the car against our fence on the way out. Unless my hubby can magically buff out the scrapes (which I’m clearly doubtful he’ll be able to do), the fix will cost us over $1000. For the love.
The car blunder has bothered me deeply because it’s just.so.visible. Everywhere I drive it comes with me like a badge of shame that announces my stupidity—“Yes, yes everyone, that’s right, I neglected to check all my mirrors before I hit the gas!” I realized recently that it disgruntles me so much because in my flesh I really want to impress you. I want others to marvel at how “together” I am. I’m aware that everyone knows I’m not perfect, but to drive around with a public declaration of my stupid mistake makes me far more uncomfortable than I’d like to admit.
In the midst of all this, God is inviting me to a deeper embrace of the gospel. Though I’d like to gussy myself up before the Lord with righteous acts, the Scriptures are clear that my best attempts are like filthy rags before Him (Is. 64:6). Since I’ve trusted in Christ I’m no longer defined by my small mistakes, such as poor driving skills, or my the ways I’ve defamed God with my sin. My life is now hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). As Paul states, I’ve been “found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Phil. 3:9). The glorious reality of the gospel is that I’m no longer identified by my shortcomings, my indiscretions, my sin, or my brilliant moments of success. Theologians describe this fantastic news as imputed righteousness. Jesus was perfectly impressive before the Father on my behalf and graciously bestows his righteous status on me with the costly price of his life.
So today, I’ll drive around with my beat up car and choose to wear it not as a badge of shame, but as a reminder of my deep need for alien righteousness, that is, the perfect record of another. Let’s glory not in our own ability to impress, but in Jesus’ work that presents us to God without spot or blemish.