I was painting a kitchen in a townhouse last week when I noticed a big “blob” of paint on a kitchen cabinet. There are basically two rules to follow if you want to make it as a painting contractor: (1.)Put paint on the stuff that is supposed to get painted, and (2.) Keep paint off of the stuff that isn’t supposed to be painted (not exactly brain surgery) … The paint drip definitely violated ruled number two so I whipped out my trusty rag to wipe it off. Oops!
Here’s where I learned something… As I tried to wipe the spatter off the cabinet I realized that it was dry-“not my fault”, I thought. Immediately I went from “oops!” to thinking “I wonder who the idiot painter was who did this?” You can blame it on the paint fumes if you want, but as soon as I thought “I wonder who the idiot painter was who did this?” I had an epiphany- I was the “idiot”! I had been painting this particular rental townhouse property for nearly ten years. (Many different paint jobs…not one extremely slow one) Chances are very good that I was the “idiot” who made the mess during some past job. I realized that even if by some chance I had not left that particular “paint blob”, there are doubtless many other messes left by me during my painting career that had to be cleaned up or “overlooked” by others. I realized that even though I pride myself on becoming “better” and “neater” as the years have passed, it is impossible to go back and clean up all the “messes and misses” I have made over the years.
I want to remember that “paint blob epiphany”. I want to remember it every time I feel superior because someone else gets caught doing a sin that I no longer struggle with. I want to remember that “I am the idiot” whenever I think that I have a sinful area of my life “under control”…it certainly wasn’t always that way. I want to remember that blob of paint whenever I am tempted to compare just how “spatter free” my life is in comparison to someone else… I hope I never forget that “I’m the idiot” when I find myself thinking that my particular sins are somehow less offensive than someone else’s. I hope it always reminds me to follow the example of Jesus and chose mercy and forgiveness instead of judgement and condemnation…It’s pretty easy when I remember that “I’m the idiot”.