Have you put your hand in the cookie jar lately? Are you buried under the weight of guilt for something you desperately wish you could undo?
I’ve been having lots of conversations with people lately who feel like they put their hand in the cookie jar and wonder if they can ever really be forgiven.
It reminds me of my own literal incident with my wife’s amazing chocolate chip cookies. I’m talking mouth-watering, nose-tingling, fantastic cookies. Irresistible!
One day, I came home and there they were. Those fantastic cookies, already made and sitting on a plate. But there was a problem. Lori had told me not to eat those fantastic cookies, because they were for my daughter’s class the next morning and there wasn’t enough dough for another batch.
So… it was hands off the cookies! But a little later Lori left the kitchen. I was just relaxing and watching the news, when suddenly my mind began to think about those fantastic cookies. It literally felt like they were calling to me, and I began rationalizing why I should partake of their amazing goodness:
I’ve had a long day, and after all, I need a cookie...or two.
I bet she hasn’t counted them.
I deserve a cookie. I paid for the cookies!
I'll bet if I just take one, she’ll never know. It will be my little secret.
So I caved… I go into the kitchen and I eat one. And it is… awesome! It was still warm. The chocolate was melting into my mouth. (Are you getting hungry yet?) Then I eat another. At this point, I really should stop eating the cookies, but I figure one more won’t hurt. (Plus, I’m going to work out tomorrow, so I’ll make it right!)
I slipped back into my chair and continue watching the news… thinking my secret was safe. I thought I could dip my hand into the cookie jar—so to speak—and no one would ever find out.
Well, a couple of hours later, I hear it… “JUDSON!” Oh. No. That’s what my mom used to call me when I was in trouble. Isn’t it amazing how our wives—without even knowing that—can go there?! I was busted.
The conversation went something like this:
“Jud, I told you not eat these cookies. They are for Emma’s school, and now there may not be enough. I’ll have to go to the store, buy more dough, and make more. Why did you eat the cookies?”
I answered the way any two-year-old would answer when he gets in trouble I looked down at the floor, shook my head from side to side, and said... “I don’t know.”
What I needed in that moment was grace, even though I didn’t deserve it. What we all need is grace, because too often we keep secrets. Too often we put our hands in the cookie jars of life, where we know they shouldn’t be. And it doesn’t take long for most of us to amass quite a guilt collection. We carry it around on our shoulders and allow it to weigh us down… lust, revenge, anger, words spoken, deeds done. Guilt comes in many shapes and sizes, but it always comes.
Have you put your hand in the cookie jar lately? Are you buried under the weight of guilt for something you desperately wish you could undo? Do you feel like you will never be enough, like you will never change?
Even when you can’t explain all your actions, you serve a God who took action on your behalf. Jesus went all the way to the cross to pay the price for our sins so that we can live in his mercy. Remember that. Even when you don’t deserve it—when we don’t deserve it—God’s radical grace in Jesus is ALWAYS more than enough.
Even when it’s you who steals the cookies from the cookie jar…