There’s a funny scene in the iconic movie “Mr. Mom” where Michael Keaton has recently taken on the role of stay-at-home dad, so he’s trying to learn the ropes. While dropping his kids off at school–in the rain–he’s met with a barrage of angry, blaring horns from the cars around him.
His son repeatedly tells him, “Dad, you’re doing it wrong,” as apparently he’s dropping off in the wrong direction. But the dad persists. As he crawls along to the front of the school, finally ready to make the drop off, he’s approached by a cheerful mom in a rain slicker, who promptly tells him, “Jack, you’re doing it wrong.”
Do you ever feel like you’re doing it wrong? I don’t mean dropping kids off at school, although maybe you’ve had a similar experience. But, do you ever have one of those weeks when you just can’t seem to get it right? And there seems to be a message blaring all around you–at every turn–and the message says this. You’re doing it wrong.
I just finished a week like that. A week where I just couldn’t seem to get it right. And for someone like me (a type A, perfectionist sort of someone) getting it wrong is just not all right. I so want to do well. It’s ingrained in the fibers of my being. I am made to want to do well. But I often don’t. I often won’t. I often am doing it wrong.
So, this thought occurred to me at the end of my wrong sort of week…
Where do you go when you’re doing it wrong?
Well, here’s where I go.
I go to the One who wrote in the sand. Remember that story? There’s a woman caught doing wrong. She’s caught red-handed, shamed-faced, altogether guilty. She’s an adulteress, and she stands condemned by those who drag her to the feet of Jesus. In that moment, she knows she’s doing it wrong.
Making her stand before the group, those in power say to Jesus…
“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:4-5)
But He doesn’t say anything at all. Instead, He does the most peculiar thing. He bends down to write in the sand. He won’t be pressured by their traps that they might accuse Him of some wrong answer. He won’t be bullied into agreeing with their manipulation. No, instead he stoops low as she is, running his fingers through the sand on which she stands condemned by those around her.
Finally, He stands for a moment, and simply says this. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) And then stoops down to write once more.
And this crowd that once surrounded her, once condemned her, once judged her guilty, slowly walks away. One at a time, until only Jesus is before her.
She stands before grace alone. She stands before the One who says, “Woman, has no one condemned you? Than neither do I. Go now. Leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11) Begin again. Start over. Receive grace.
That’s where I go when I’m doing it wrong. To the feet of the One who stooped low to write grace in that sand of condemnation. When I surround myself, reminding myself, convicting myself, judging myself for all the ways I’m just getting it so wrong, there is only One place to go. To His feet.
Because He gets down low with me. Down in the muck and the mire. Down in my mess. Down into all the ways I’m getting it wrong. And He meets me there. And as He meets me, I marvel at this God who receives me in my mess and loves me all the more.
And then He calls me to something better. He calls me to begin again. He writes grace on my heart, takes my hand, lifts my head, forgives my sin, and says, “neither do I condemn you.” Go and sin no more.
This is the grace that was born on Christmas. This tiny, humble God came and lived and loved and wrote in the sand. Grace upon grace upon grace.
He pursued Zacchaeus–a notorious “sinner”– up in that tree and invited Himself over for a meal. He broke bread with Matthew, a hated tax collector, as well as with his friends, all of the riff raff and outcasts, the looked-down-upon ones. He asked for a drink from a Samaritan woman at a well, and so disrupted the patterns of racism of His time. He hung on a cross, next to a convicted criminal, and invited him to join Him in paradise.
He just keeps writing grace.
He writes grace into my life every single day. Especially on the weeks when I’m doing it wrong. When I’m doing it wrong, I need a God who did it right. Who came and lived and loved and gave Himself perfectly, for all of us who do it wrong all the time. That we need not get it perfectly right. That we might have somewhere, Someone to go to when we’re getting it all wrong.
A refuge from all of the wrong.
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27)
I go to His arms. It’s the only place to which I can go. It’s the only answer. He’s the only answer. When I’m getting it all wrong, when I’m doing it all wrong, when it all seems wrong around me, I go to Him.
The One who go it right. The One who made it all right by giving Himself on that cross. The One who will one day redeem it all. My only hope, my refuge, my Jesus. The One who rights all my wrongs.