Even though I live in southern California, my family went to see the Tournament of Roses Parade only once. Battling traffic and hunting for the ever elusive parking space made it more worth our time to watch it on television.
One year, back when I was quite young, my older sister and I viewed the parade, in glorious black and white, with all its brass bands and spectacular floats. I imagined myself as the Rose Queen, waving to hordes of cheering spectators.
At the end of the parade, Sis came up with a brilliant idea. We would build a float!
We got the wagon out of the garage. Now all we needed were some rose petals.
And there, lining the chain link fence along the driveway, were my mother’s prize roses.
My mother worked on those roses, come cold or heat. She carefully pruned away dead branches and flowers, sprayed for aphids. They were her pride and joy.
At first Sis and I limited ourselves to the five or six petals, dry and curling with age, that we found on the ground. Placing those few into the wagon didn’t magically turn it one of those magnificent floats we had seen in the parade.
You can guess what happened next. And I can assure you, nothing works to put a petal back on a rose once it’s been plucked. Trust me. Tape doesn’t work, nor glue, nor staples.
Of course my mother noticed immediately. And punishment was swift in coming.
When you read about that, you may wonder how stupid two kids can be. Amazingly stupid, obviously. Did we really think our mother wouldn’t find out?
Yet, don’t we do the same stupid thing when we sin? Do we really think God won’t see it? And immediately? Do we think, like Adam and Eve, that we can hide from God?
I suspect that when we sin, we’re not thinking about God much, if at all. Our focus is self-centered, concerned only with what we want at the moment. If evading the truth gets us out of a sticky situation, we lean toward lying. If we’re running late, the speed limit becomes unreasonable. If we’re angry at someone, we may not hesitate to throw all the verbal abuse we can think of in his direction.
And just like a couple of naughty girls who have plucked rose petals, we often don’t stop to consider that we won’t be able to undo what we’ve done.