There was one place in my friend’s house that was off limits to his 5 year-old son Peter. The workshop.
My friend Dave is a serious woodworker and he has every kind of power tool you could imagine. So the rule in the house was that Peter was not allowed in the workshop without his dad.
One day, Peter’s curiosity got the best of him and he went into his dad’s workshop. Underneath the workbench Peter discovered an old brick that had probably been there for years. He found a hammer and a screwdriver on top of the workbench and decided that he would make something really special out of the brick.
With the screwdriver and hammer, he began to chisel away small pieces of the block. He decided that he needed to take out a bigger piece, so he hit the handle of the screwdriver a little harder with the hammer. Suddenly the plastic handle of the screwdriver shattered into little pieces.
Peter quickly pushed the brick, hammer, and what was left of the screwdriver under the bench and ran up the stairs and into the garage. My friend Dave was outside doing some lawn work when Peter came out of the garage huffing and puffing.
When Peter saw his dad, he stopped dead in his tracks. He somehow thought his dad would already know what happened and that he was in trouble. But his dad simply looked up and said a quick hello and then went back to his lawn work.
But Peter needed to make sure. So he turned to his dad and said, “Um, hey dad. Yeah, well, I was just thinking…we sure have a lot of screwdrivers, don’t we?”
Dave looked up at his son and thought about his strange question, and said, “Yep, Peter, we do have a lot of screwdrivers.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” Peter responded.
A few moments later, Peter said. “You know dad, I’ll bet we could get along just fine without that yellow handled screwdriver…couldn’t we dad?”
Again Dave stopped his work, looked up and said, “Uh, yeah Peter, we could probably get along without the yellow handled screwdriver.
Dave was a pretty intuitive dad and could tell that there was more to these questions than Peter was letting on. Peter started to walk away when Dave called out, “Hey Peter, do you have something you want to tell me?”
Suddenly Peter turned around and ran back to his dad and leapt into his dad’s arms and burst into tears saying, “Dad, I broke your yellowed handled screwdriver. I broke it into little pieces. I went into the workshop where I wasn’t supposed to go and I broke your screwdriver.”
After some more tears, Dave hugged him a little tighter and said, “It’s okay, Peter, I forgive you.”
Peter wiped away the tears, looked up at his dad and a huge smile came across both of their faces. Forgiveness has a way of doing that to people.
Soon, Peter wiggled away from his dad and went off to play. Dave picked up his rake and began working again.
As my friend continued to work in his yard, he reflected on what had just happened. He laughed at himself when he realized that he didn’t even know that he owned a yellow handled screwdriver. But what he did know was what his young son needed. He needed to bring his sin to his dad and he needed to be forgiven.
Young Peter could have easily swept up the mess and know one would have ever known. Fortunately he was raised in a family where he was taught that when you “Mess up, Fess up”. He was taught that while there may be consequences for actions, there will always be forgiveness.
“Mess up. Fess up” is a lesson that I need to remember. I need to be reminded that as a parent I model for my kids what forgiveness looks like. Personally, I know that it is so easy for me to hide my sins. I can make myself look pretty good on the outside. But I know that God knows my sins. He knows my thoughts, my actions, my motivations, all the times I’ve ignored someone in need.
I need to learn from my friend’s son to bring it to my Father and to experience the unfathomable forgiveness that He offers.
If As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!” Psalms 41:4
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah Psalms 32:5
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7
Take a moment today and think about “What are the yellow handled screwdrivers in my life?” Picture Jesus looking at you in love and saying to you, “Is there something you want to tell me?”
We do have an awesome God who offers amazing Grace.
By Pete Larson
Husband to Lynn, Father of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Executive Director of Family Fest Ministries
Join Pete for Summer Splash, a family camp on August 5-9. Click HERE for more information!