Danger! Flying dirt clods…
I think everybody remembers their very first crush. Mine was a girl in my 2nd grade class named Tracy Miller. My hormones weren’t working yet at that age, but for some reason there was something really special about Tracy, and every time I was around her my heart was a bit bigger inside of my chest. Ready for the kicker? That first crush lasted for 5 years until the 7th grade when my family moved away.
In the fifth grade, a couple of my buddies and I, along with Tracy and a couple of her friends, were standing on each end of the kickball field throwing dirt clods at each other. Check that. The boys were throwing them at the girls. In my fifth grade mentality, it totally made sense to throw dirt clods at my crush to prove my love. Fifth grade romance baby. Our throws weren’t even close, but unfortunately for me, I launched one last shot that sailed way high and then came straight down and beaned Tracy right in the face, knocking her onto her back.
I just stood there like an idiot. I watched the other girls point at me to the teacher. I got in huge trouble and worst part…my heart was crushed.
I tried to win the girl…
I rushed to pick up anything she dropped. I gave her my tater tots at lunch. I told her I was sorry a hundred times. None of those things worked and unfortunately we never spoke again in childhood. I crushed on her for two more years but never once did she ever talk to me again. The friendship was broken and there was nothing I could do to get it back.
Read Romans 3:9-23.
No matter how many good things I did for Tracy, that relationship was permanently broken. It is the same way between us and God. Without God in our lives we are stuck in our sins and there isn’t anything that anyone can do about it.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
Some good news!
Keep reading Romans 3:24-26.
Thankfully Paul keeps writing and lets us know that Jesus Christ died for us and paid the price for all of our sins. A free gift to be received by faith. What we could never fix, Jesus fixed. We were forever stuck; Jesus makes us forever free.
So does being good ever save you? Nope. Why bother being good at all then? We are good because we are thankful for what Christ did for us. One of my mentors had a great saying that has always stuck with me…
“You can’t be sinless, but you can sin less.”
Only God can wipe out our sin. He does this when we go to Him in confession and take part in the Sacrament. We get a fresh start each time. Because we love Him and are thankful for what He did for us we try harder. We try to be better humans.
Applying this to life…
I never married Tracy Miller, but years later I did meet an incredible person named Annie, and I fell head over heels in love and eventually we got married and it was the best thing (except for Jesus and our two kids) that ever happened to me. I love her more than anything. Because I love her, I try and be a good husband. I pick up my socks, do the dishes, go to the store, feed her guinea pig. I do these things not because I am trying to earn her love, but because of her love.
It’s the same with our faith. Every morning you wake up you have the opportunity to be good, to be a better human, because of what Jesus did for you. When you make the effort, people will ask why. Then you get to tell them…it’s because of the cross.