Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?
Daily Prompt: Breaking the Law
In today’s world, some might not see this as a big deal. In fact, many call it a rite of passage, but the truth is that we are living in a world that calls right wrong, and wrong right. Sadly, many in our culture believe that there are no absolute rights or wrongs.
Destruction is certain for those who say that evil is good and good is evil; that dark is light and light is dark; that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. (Isaiah 5:20 NLT)
When I was eighteen, my parents and my sister went away for the weekend, leaving me behind, because I had to work on that Saturday morning. My parents asked my uncle and his wife to keep an eye out for me while they were gone, so after work, I called them up to see if they would mind if I stopped by for a little while, since I had no plans that day. As I recall, (and please remember, this was more than thirty years ago) they said that they would be drinking and partying that night, and I was welcome to join them, but if I thought I would be offended, I shouldn’t come.
I decided that since my life had thus far been pretty boring, that I would join the party. I remember that this happened in the summer time, because it was still light out for a long time. When I walked into the house, many, including my uncle and his wife were already drinking exuberantly. They were loud and obnoxious, and in my foolish sight, they were pretty awesome. They asked if I wanted a tequila sunrise, and I said yes… and yes again… and again… and again…
Before long, I was feeling woozy. Everyone was laughing and having a great time, and they were laughing at me too. I felt everyone’s approval, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was the life of the party. Therefore, when they asked if I could keep a secret, I immediately agreed. I wasn’t going to spoil anyone’s fun, and I liked being so popular with everyone.
That’s when they brought out the bong. I’d never seen one before, and I had no idea what we were going to do next, but I thought it involved some kind of party game. I was pretty naïve, but as they began deftly rolling joints, and lit the bong, I was soon up to speed on what was going on. They offered me a toke, and said I didn’t have to do it if I didn’t want to. It was cool, but I was drunk and enjoying my new party girl status, so I toked and smoked with the best of them.
Then, at some point, as everyone was laughing and partying, it was decided that we would take our party to one of the bars everyone loved to frequent at the beach, some forty-five minutes away. My uncle loaded his vehicle with several of his closest friends, and I was left to ride in another car, with his other friends. The crew I was riding with were pretty rough and scary looking, and I was beginning to feel really woozy, and a little nauseated.
On the drive to the beach, my nausea was increasing at an alarming rate. At some point, in an effort to stop the nausea and the spinning in my head, I laid down on this woman’s lap and closed my eyes. It didn’t help. “I’m going to die,” I moaned as she gently rubbed my hair and assured me that I was going to be okay. Her touch was comforting, but I really did feel as though I was going to die… and then, “I’m going to be sick!” I said as I began retching. They quickly pulled the vehicle over, and gently opened my door and helped me lean over, as I threw up all over my feet. I can’t remember if I got sick in the vehicle or not. I only know that I was miserable, and that these strangers (including this great big burly man, who was really scary looking with tattoos and a red bandana), who I did not even know were so gentle and kind as they cared for me.
Meanwhile, my uncle and his wife kept their distance from me, leaving the strangers to care for me. I was really hurt by that at the time, but I was also so grateful to the strangers who gently cleaned me up, as my uncle and his wife looked on from about fifteen or twenty feet away, so as not to be touched by the stench of the barf. After cleaning me up, the gentle giant and his wife helped me back into their vehicle, laying my head gently on his wife’s lap, and speaking to me kindly and soothingly, as we continued on our way to the beach. Needless to say, I drank no more alcohol that night, for fear of getting sick. Instead, I stuck to Cokes for the rest of the evening… This certainly was not a night that I was proud of…
So, in answer to the question asked, “Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?” from my lawbreaking evening, I say yes. Was I burned? Yes on a couple of different levels… Firstly, I got so dreadfully, horribly sick, which took away my desire for alcohol and a party life… Secondly, my conscience was pricked.
Even when Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, instinctively follow what the law says, they show that in their hearts they know right from wrong. They demonstrate that God’s law is written within them, for their own consciences either accuse them or tell them they are doing what is right. (Romans 2:14-15 NLT)
For months, I carried this secret shame within me, while it gnawed away at my conscience. I knew that what I had done was wrong, and every time my mother would tell me how proud she was of me, because I could be trusted while she went away, I would feel intense guilt and self-loathing.
Finally, one night, probably around six or eight months following that shameful night, my mom came to my room for something. It’s been so long ago, I don’t remember the small details, but I do remember the larger details. Mom sat on the side of my bed talking to me and telling me how much she loved me, and how proud she was of me, while I wept like a baby. I was so ashamed, and finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, and so I told her why she should not love me or be proud of me, and I told her every detail of that horrible, wretched night, when I had gotten drunk and high.
Knowing our past relationship, I fully expected my mother to beat me mercilessly, and curse me, and tell me how worthless I was. Then, I could feel some justification for my sins… but this time, she fooled me. She looked at me, and with tears in her eyes, she hugged me and told me how much she loved me, and that she forgave me. I tell you, I felt such an overwhelming love for my mother that night, and I still do, as I remember that.
I am so thankful for the love she shared with me when I confessed my sin to her. So you see, yes I was burned, but not by the law. I was burned by my own conscience, as God’s Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin, and yes, it did indeed work out for the best. You see, I was able to understand that despite our rocky, abusive relationship, my mother does love me, and I love her deeply. I also learned that drunkenness and being wasted are not the fun that everyone thinks they are. Quite frankly, they only serve to harm and destroy us.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.
Cheryl A. Showers