By Linda Porter Carlyle
What happened last week: Mac is spending the day with Mrs. Pastor Chuck. She and Buffy have been playing tug-of-war with Buffy’s knotted sock toy. Mrs. P.C. reminded Mac several times not to run so fast in the house. Mac forgot.
MacKenzie Isabelle Evans watched Buffy dash around the coffee table, her sock in her mouth. Mac chased after her. Around and around and around.
And then Mac slipped. She flailed her arms and tried to catch herself, but she couldn’t. She crashed straight into the TV and knocked it off the old trunk it was setting on.
Mac hit the floor hard and burst into tears.
Mrs. Pastor Chuck ran down the hall. She looked at Mac sprawled on the carpet, tears running down her face. “Where are you hurt?” she asked anxiously, squatting down beside her. “Is anything broken?”
“No!” Mac wailed. “But your TV is!”
Mrs. Pastor Chuck patted Mac’s back. “Are you sure you’re OK?” she asked.
“Yes!” Mac answered and wailed louder.
“Then please stop crying!” Mrs. Pastor Chuck said. “You’re scaring me!” She dug a tissue out of her pocket and handed it to Mac.
Mac slowly sat up. She leaned against Mrs. Pastor Chuck and blew her nose. Then she took another look at the broken TV and began to sob once more. “I don’t have enough money to pay for fixing it! I don’t have enough money to buy you a new one!” she cried.
Mrs. Pastor Chuck stood up. “It’s OK,” she said. “I promise—it’s OK.”
Mac held her head in her hands and wept. “I’m sorry!” she said with a hiccup. “I’m really, really sorry!”
Buffy crouched under the table. She whimpered softly. She wasn’t sure what was going on. The crash had scared her, and she did not like the sound of Mac’s crying.
Mrs. Pastor Chuck bent over. She rumbled Mac’s tousled red curls. “Get up, please,” she said. “Come, sit by me on the couch.”
Mac scrambled up. She sniffled and looked for a place to wipe her cheeks on the soggy tissue. She tried to keep her eyes away from the cracked TV.
Mac sank down on the couch beside Mrs. Pastor Chuck. She put her head down on her knees. Tiny tears kept pushing their way out under her eyelids. “I’m sorry I didn’t listen better and stop running,” she whispered.
Mrs. Pastor Chuck rubbed Mac’s back. “I forgive you,” she said.
They sat that way, together, for a while. Mac’s head down, her eyes shut. Mrs. Pastor Chuck gently rubbing her back. Finally, Mrs. P.C. asked, “Did you hear what I said? I forgive you.”
Mac nodded. But she did not raise her head. She just whispered, “I’m really sorry! I feel terrible!”
Mrs. P.C. smiled at the back of Mac’s head. “Do you know what that means—my forgiving you?” she asked. “It means it is just as if you had not broken the TV. It means I will not look at you for the rest of your life and think, ‘That’s the girl who broke my TV!’ It means I will never mention it again.”
Mac sat up. She looked at Mrs. P.C. “I have to get you a new TV, and I don’t have enough money! Maybe my mom and dad can get you one, and I can pay them back someday when I get a job!”
“No!” Mrs. P.C. said firmly. “It’s true that when we do something wrong or hurt somebody, we should try our best to fix it. But I think there is a bigger lesson to be learned here. There is no way you can pay for the TV. There is nothing you can do to fix it. That’s exactly the way it is with God. There is no way we can pay for our sins. There is nothing we, or our parents, can do to fix them. We can only let God forgive them.”
Mac sat very still. She felt as if a bright light had suddenly gone on somewhere inside her head. Mrs. Pastor Chuck forgave her! It was all her fault for disobeying and breaking the TV, but Mrs. P.C. forgave her! And she wouldn’t remind her about it again. And Mrs. P.C. would pay for a new TV—she didn’t have to! That’s what God was like!
New tears spilled out of Mac’s eyes. She threw her arms around Mrs. Pastor Chuck. “I love you!” she exclaimed. “I never want to disobey you again! Ever! I love you!”
Mrs. P.C. laughed. She hugged Mac back. “I think you’ve got it!” she answered. “That’s exactly what God hopes to hear when He forgives us!”