She gasped when she realized its power, that tiny pink nub on the other side of the pencil. It was a simple eraser, but it brought her nothing short of sheer delight.
I hear her at the kitchen table -- scratching and scrawling her letters, then giddily exclaiming "ah, I made a mistake!" A smile creeps across her face as she flips the pencil upside-down and busily rubs until the graphite line has all but disappeared. For her, and for now, there is joy in the "undoing" of errors, in the making of all things right.
Sometimes, I wish I had that delight -- the joy of simply "erasing mistakes." Oh, to simply flip a pencil upside down and erase my harsh words, my judgmental spirit, my indifference towards my God. But sin is stronger than pencils, and grown-up mistakes can leave permanent marks on the soul.
And since I can't erase, I simply try to cover them up. I hide my errors behind justifications, I allow time to fade their potency. If I do acknowledge error, I do so with embarrassment and guilt. I want others acknowledge their sin first before I'll admit to my own. Confession becomes a shameful, exposing process. And it strips the delight from my relationships.
But it doesn't have to be this way.
Years ago, there was a man who covered up errors, hid behind excuses, buried his mistakes, and soon found himself wasting away -- living in agony. Surprisingly, his joy came when he stopped trying to cover himself, and and instead admitted his need for other-covering:
"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered...When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long...
Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and did not cover up my iniquity."
Psalm 32 (portions)
Blessing-- joy beyond words -- comes not through avoiding, or hiding -- but covering. And there's a different kind of covering that we need -- it's not self-covering, but cross-covering.
Jesus has paid it all. He has covered you. Because our sins, our failures, our mistakes -- they can never just be "erased." They can't simply be "undone," like an unwanted pencil mark on a paper. But they can be paid for. They can be covered through the cross. The One whom we've wronged treats us as righteous and perfect.
It's better than an eraser.
Do you delight in the correction of your mistakes?
Do you quickly and humbly admit wrong against your spouse, or do you demand evidence and a reciprocated apology?
Do you relish the chance to reconcile with your children? Or do you angrily mutter, "I'm sorry" between clenched teeth, inwardly blaming them for provoking you?
Do you eagerly approach God's throne in confession, knowing that grace and forgiveness freely abounds in Christ?
How much of your day-to-day misery, exhaustion, despair, and broken relationships is a result of hiding, excusing, or pointing the finger at others?
Confess joyfully. Find a better covering in Christ. Blessing is yours for the taking.