I remember how my dad used to keep coins in jar near his dresser. Every time he got home from work, the first thing he did was to head upstairs and change his clothes.
I could hear the familiar jangling of pennies as they spilled from his pocket as he set them in the jar. When I was about 11 years old, a thought crossed my mind and I decided his coins should be mine.
Over time I stole a handful of his pennies. But I recognized my sin, I had successfully swindled my dad out of his loose change, and he never even noticed.
Sometime later, guilt engrossed me. I knew that what I’d been doing could only be considered stealing. I had no way to explain away my behavior. With a pounding heart, I penned an apology to him, confessing my sin and asking him to forgive me. I tucked it under his coin jar along with a pile of pennies as restitution.
I waited anxiously for my dad to confront me. Day one went by, and he didn’t say anything. Another day passed; still nothing. And then another, and another. Eventually, I forgot about the note.
Then one day out of the blue, my dad stepped into my bedroom, and said, “Son, I got your note about the pennies.” My heart raced; my throat felt like a marble was lodged in it. I didn’t know what to expect next. I didn’t see a belt gripped in his hand, as I would have expected after behaving so badly, and he didn’t seem especially upset.
In fact, if I didn’t know better, my father seemed on the verge of tears. But that didn’t make any sense. I had wronged him. He had every right to be mad and punish me. Instead he said, “Thank you son for recognizing your sin.” And then he gave me a hug.
And there he left. We never spoke of it again.
I stood there dumbfounded. Why, when I fully deserved my father’s wrath, did he instead show me mercy? I didn’t deserve it; I hadn’t earned it. I felt like a criminal let off scot free!
This is the first time I recognized that God has blessed me with a father with a great heart.