My father served the U.S. Army as a chaplain, so I grew up an Army brat AND a preacher’s kid — double trouble!
When I was in the fifth grade, Dad was stationed in Germany. One winter Sunday morning, I was playing in the snow in my back yard. The Catholic mass was about to start next door at the chapel. It would be later that morning when the Protestants would gather in the same building, so I had some extra time to play.
I had just packed a hard snowball in my hand when I saw a little girl walking down the long sidewalk from the street to the chapel. The temptation was too great. She was about 50 yards away, so what were the odds that I would actually hit her? I wound up my pitch and let the snowball fly, and wham! It knocked her hat right off her head.
What happened next seems to be in slow-motion in my memory. She reached down, picked up her hat, and glared at me for what seemed like an eternity. Then in a huff, she marched into the chapel.
I ran to my room and sat very still. I knew I was in trouble. I could envision the priest coming over and talking to my Dad, saying, “What’s the Protestant chaplain’s son doing hitting little Catholic girls with snowballs?”
I expected that I had done major damage to Catholic/Protestant relations. What’s more, I feared that my Dad was going to do major damage to my rear end.
I waited and waited, but nothing happened. Not a word. I went to church later that morning, expecting that at any moment the little girl would jump from behind a corner, point her finger at me, and say, “He did it!” But nothing happened.
I never heard from that little girl again. I don’t know if she forgave me, but I know that I was truly sorry for what happened, and I never tried that stunt again. It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 7:10, which says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” Some people are truly sorry, and some are just plain sorry! Thank God, if we are truly sorry for our sin, we can repent of sin and turn in faith to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the One who paid for our sins by His death on the cross, and when we turn in faith to Him, He forgives us of sin and gives us His salvation.
It was at about that same age that I placed my personal faith in Jesus Christ. I hope that little Catholic girl did, too. I would love to see her in heaven and introduce myself as the bad kid who hit her with the snowball. She’ll probably be surprised to see me there.
(Copyright 2014 by Bob Rogers. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)