My son suddenly found a new neighborhood friend (we’ll just call him Roscoe; no pun intended). Little did I know, this new relationship would bring additional responsibilities for me. One day my son confidently asked if Roscoe could stay for dinner. Why would he expect me to say no after all of the sermons I’d preached to him about sharing? Keenly aware that saying “no” would damage my credibility for life. I smiled and said of course honey but he needs to check with his mom first. After all, I had prepared more than enough and self-righteously I thought, it takes a village to raise a child.
Well soon enough, one invite rapidly evolved into a daily dinner guest appearance. I began to wonder if Roscoe was getting fed at home, considering no one seemed to mind that he’d been eating dinner at my house everyday for two consecutive weeks. Clearly (or at least in my mind) Roscoe’s family was having financial issues and couldn’t afford the rising cost of food; as if my situation was any different. With my profound insight and freshly shined halo, I surmised with no personal knowledge that there was definitely something different going on as I would never allow my son to eat at someone’s home whom I’d never seen or met. My great parenting skills would never allow my son to eat at someone’s home without calling and saying thank you so much. Yes, it was confirmed, I was an awesome mother and Christian.
One blazing hot summer day, my 18 year old godson; another overnights house guest, called me at work to tell me he and my son were locked out of the house as he forgot to unlock the door when he went to pick my son up from school. My godson informed me that he was calling from Roscoe’s house. I later learned that my godson asked Roscoe’s grandmother if my son could stay inside of their house until I got home to get out of the 100+ degree heat and grandma answered with an emphatic No!
Well lets just say, when I got wind of this, I was incensed. Silently, the conversation began in my head. I called grandma every not so nice name in the book. In my head, the rhetorical questions began. Are you kidding me? Really? I can feed your grandchild dinner and breakfast for a year (details are always grossly exaggerated when I’m angry) including Saturday morning breakfast visits when Roscoe seemed to always casually mention having only had a banana for breakfast. After all I’ve done, this is how you thank me, by not providing my precious babies shelter from the heat? This question and answer period seemed to last forever. Quickly fading was my desire to control my emotions. The internal battle was more than I’d bargained for. After all, I was a Christian and the mere fact that I was as upset as I was by such a trivial event meant I really didn’t know Jesus at all.
With my new revelation, I decided that I would traipse down the street to Roscoe’s house with my Christianity or lack thereof in tow and let grandma know just how pissed and heated I was. It was my Christian duty to bring this offense to her attention. Before I could open the door, I felt a heaviness within my spirit followed by an urge to check my motives. Defeated, I sat on the step and pondered why I was so upset. After a couple of agonizing moments, God showed me exactly why. Tearfully, I asked God to forgive me. As only God can do, I was able to see and then admit the ugly honest truth behind the anger. Simple; I would never be able to redeem the “You Owe Me” coupon, I’d inconspicuously created. Tucked away within the teeny tiny restrictions God had written the following:
Coupon not redeemable by persons seeking to please God. My grace and mercy is sufficient. My continual grace and mercy has always been and will always be provided in lieu of any expectation of payment at this time or at any time in the future. For you are you brothers keeper!