It is good to receive forgiveness. Isn’t it? I’ve been forgiven by Jesus, my wife, my parents, my siblings, my friends, and others over the years, and I’ve never once wished that someone would have held something against me and carried a grudge. Forgiveness feels much better. But sometimes I have wronged a person I was not in position to even apologize to, because I had no idea who they were. I know that specifically, almost 20 years ago, my brother Dan and I stole from someone we didn’t know. And today I was forgiven by that person, because I happen to meet him and find out that he was the owner of what we had stolen as children. Here’s the story.
When we were younger, my brother Dan and I learned how to steal stickers from those 50-cent machines at a lot of grocery stores. No, I won’t tell you how we did it. I’ve only ever told one person, and that was Mark, who I met today, since he owned the machines. Anyway, we did it one time to see if it would really work, because the kid who told us how was kind of fast and loose with the truth. But then we got excited, because it did work, and the exotic sports car stickers were so cool. So we did it again. And again. And again. In total, we did it eleven times, giving each of us a complete set of 5, plus one extra Lamborghini sticker.
Our mom noticed the new stickers and was annoyed that we had wasted so much on them. We didn’t care, cause we hadn’t spent anything on them, and we went to our room to apply them to our basketball card folders. But as we did, we both started feeling really guilty about it. After some discussion, we went back downstairs and told our mom what we had done. I cannot speak for Dan, but I had guilty tears in my eyes. We asked if there was a way to make it right, and she said we could apologize and pay for them. So we went right back over to Meijer with $5.50 and an apology note in an envelope. The Meijer customer service worker told us they didn’t own the machines, but they could pass it on to the owner. So we left.
I met the man that owned that machine today. I was buying a gum ball machine from him for children’s ministry. More on that another day. But after talking to him about when he started his business, and how far the range was of his business. It turns out he had those machines in the Meijers in Grand Rapids at that time. So I told him about what my brother and I had done, and I was sure to include the part about us paying for them in the end. I was able to apologize to him almost 20 years later, and he just laughed and said it was okay. I can now sleep peacefully tonight, knowing the big sticker scandal has finally been settled, and I’ve been forgiven.