My Imaginary Friend Did It

My three-year-old grandson ran down the hallway, dashed into our master bedroom, and took refuge in his favorite hiding place – a spot behind my LazyBoy rocking chair.  Having just knocked something over in our living room, he knew the noise would bring Poppy to see what havoc his rambunctiousness had wrought. Young Luke sought the illusive seclusion of his preferred hideaway.

Fortunately, the “mess” was more noise than breakage. But Luke knew he had done something he shouldn’t, and his first instinct was to HIDE!

Come to think of it, isn’t that our natural instinct to hide from our transgressions?  Adam and Eve did it in the Garden, I’ve done it way too many times, and now Master Luke was following in the footsteps of the human race and seeking shelter from the spotlight of truth and revelation.

I walked into the bedroom, sat down in the LazyBoy chair, and calmly spoke out loud, “Luke, where are you?”  Following some graceful coaxing, a guilt-ridden and downcast face appeared from behind my chair.  Crawling up into my lap, a brief reconciliation followed.  And a smile returned to his cherubic face.

The message on his t-shirt was both funny and insightful, “My imaginary friend did it!”  Even three-year-olds want to avoid accountability and pass the blame.  

It has occurred to me that one has only to spend a few minutes with a three-year-old to find justification for the concept of original sin.  Every other word seems to be “Mine!”  And why do they run and hide after a misdeed unless they know instinctively that they have done something wrong? 

During moments like this, I recall how as a father, and now a grandfather, demonstrating love and forgiveness to these young hearts models how important it is to be reconciled with our Heavenly Father.

Helping these youthful souls understand the necessity of confession and the blessing of being reconciled with those whom you have offended starts in the rocking chairs of every home.  As philosopher Peter Kreeft reminds us,  “Confessing sin is like taking out the garbage, once is not enough.”

No doubt Master Luke will return often to his favorite hiding place whenever his sin nature is on full display.  But then, his Poppy will always return to his rocking chair too, with offers of grace and mercy.  For a three-year-old, reconciliation means only one thing – I don’t have to hide from Poppy anymore.

Hopefully, Luke will soon learn that reconciliation is but one “I’m sorry, forgive me” away.  Besides, Luke has already figured out that Poppy never holds his imaginary friends accountable.

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