My mother pulled into the garage and headed inside the house. I was fearful and worried that I was going to be in trouble for breaking the lamp in the living room. Being a normal 14 year old, I stayed in the basement and didn’t come upstairs when she walked in. A few minutes later I could hear her yelling at my 7 year old brother, Chase, whom I was supposed to be watching while she was at work. Watching my little brother usually meant just being in the same house – I didn’t actually do much watching at all. He had done many things before to get in trouble, and many more things that he didn’t get in trouble for – like bugging his older brother. But this time, he did not do anything. I watched as my mom gave him a little spanking and sent him to his room. “I didn’t do it! I didn’t do it!” he proclaimed as he headed to his room. I still remember those teary little eyes. It broke my heart.
There I stood – silent! I did not fess up. I let my little brother take the fall for me. I tried to justify to myself that he deserved it for all his other shortcomings. I look back at that incident some 30 years ago and I am embarrassed by it. Why did I not speak up for my innocent brother? Why did I try and justify his punishment? Maybe because I was 14 and didn’t want to get in trouble. Maybe because at 14 my character and integrity had not yet fully developed. Maybe it was a lesson I had to learn the hard way – I had to live with my lack of action.
When we think of integrity and character we often think of the things we say and do. However, sometimes it’s the things we don’t say or don’t do that actually speak the loudest. If I could go back and change that day I would. If I could go back and change a lot of days I would. Days in which I did things out character from what God would want me to do. But I cannot change the past. I can only move forward, learn from it, and try to live each day with honor and integrity. That day also reminds me that Jesus Christ, though sinless and without guilt, took my place on Calvary. He died for my sins, my shortcomings, my failures – for me and for you! 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: ‘For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.’
“Dear Lord, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Thank you for allowing us to be reconciled to You. Help us to live life full of integrity and character that’s honoring and pleasing to You. It’s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.”