I loved the children’s message Sharon did a few weeks ago, when she held some pencils and asked, “What do they have in common?” The answer: all their erasers had been used up, so the people who used them must have made a lot of mistakes. And in life, we all make mistakes. But through Jesus, God is our big eraser that wipes out and forgives the mistakes we make. So since we’re Jesus-followers, we should forgive people too, not keep a record of their mistakes, but let them be erased-over and over again.
I kept thinking about that idea, that each person is like a pencil: some are long, some are dull, some are sharp, some are worn down by age, some are round, some are straight, some are soft, some are colorful, and some are normal. But no matter what you as a pencil are like, you will still make mistakes because no one is perfect. And yet, when we make a mistake, we try to erase it and cover it up as soon as possible because we don’t want anyone to know. That’s why our erasers are so worn down: we try to hide our mistakes or fix them on our own.
But have you tried to erase something with a pencil who’s eraser was worn out? It just smudges the paper and dirties things up more. That is us when we are spread too thin, trying to make everything perfect on our own power.
But God is the Great Forgiver, so God’s eraser never runs out. It’s like the big pink erasers in grade school. Those erasers are so big, you think you’ll never run out. You can erase to your heart’s content. And so it is with God’s forgiveness that never runs out no matter how many mistakes you make.
Even the best authors revise their drafts, make changes, and correct mistakes before their masterwork is complete. I wonder if, when Charles Dickens was crafting the famous opening to A Tale of Two Cities, his thought process was something like this:
“It was really awesome times, and it was less awesome times.” No, that’s dreadful. Better erase it. What about: “You win some, you lose some.” No, that won’t work. I know: “The times were like a box of chocolates…” Goodness no; that’s ghastly. However will I start it? Hmmmm… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” By Jove, I’ve got it!
We know a lot about erasing pencil mistakes at our house. The past two years of Kindergarten and first grade homework, as our son has learned to read and write, have required many erasings. But that’s expected and even welcomed. It shows that he’s learning, improving, tweaking, and trying. I’m proud of all the erasing he’s done. Our cup of eraser-less pencils is a physical reminder of his learning journey.
Missteps mark the pathway to success. Mistakes are part of our learning journey, and God erases them with grace. If we are each like pencils, then God is writing with them a grand story. So I encourage you to stop trying to erase your own mistakes in order to polish your story. Let God’s forgiveness perfect you, and let God take hold of you, using you to write a masterpiece.
Grace and peace,