As a gift, Johnny was given a slingshot. He immediately ran off to practice in the woods, but found he could never hit his intended targets. Feeling discouraged, he headed back to the house for dinner.
Near the farmhouse, he saw his grandmother’s pet duck. Impulsively, he let a rock fly from his slingshot. It hit the duck square in the head, killing it instantly. Johnny was shocked! In a panic, he frantically hid the dead duck, only to discover that his sister was standing not five feet away. She had silently witnessed everything.
After dinner, Grandma said, “Sally, let’s wash the dishes.” Sally said, “Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen.”
Johnny did the dishes.
The next morning Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing. Grandma interjected, “I’m sorry but I need help preparing supper.” Sally smiled smugly and said, “Johnny told me he wanted to help.”
He squirmed, but she raised her eyebrows and then whispered, “Remember the duck?”
Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.
Over the next several days, Johnny found himself doing both his chores and Sally’s.
Finally, he couldn’t stand it any longer.
He confessed to his grandmother that he had killed her pet duck. She knelt down, gave him a hug, and said, “Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing. But because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you.”
I once heard a minister say, “It is easier to feel guilty than forgiven.”
So many times, so many of us find that it is easier to feel guilty than forgiven.
This phrase might even sound familiar. I told it to an executive director of the show ER when they called me to ask how I would have counseled a character they created and they put these exact words in the show as the words of the chaplain. (Hooray for Hollywood.)
Spiritual-religious advice: Set yourself free.