Last summer, I had an unusual visitor. A lady I didn’t recognize came to my front door and rang the doorbell. I’d never seen her before, but she was clearly from the neighbourhood, as she had come on foot.

She said she had come to apologize to me.

I was mystified. This lady was a total stranger: why would she need to apologize to me?

“What on earth for?” I asked her.

Somewhat sheepishly, she explained that she had stolen a flower from my yard several days before. She had been walking past my garden, and had so admired the largest red zinnia that she had secretly picked it and had taken it home.

Her conscience eventually bothered her about pilfering the flower, however, hence her arrival at my doorstep to apologize.

I laughed and said that there was no problem: I hadn’t even known that a flower was missing. I told her I was delighted that she was enjoying the vibrant and cheerful red zinnia in her home.

We had a nice conversation about gardening and the types of flowers I was growing. She mentioned her struggles to grow flowers in the small strip of ground under her front window, so I offered some tips about gardening. We parted warmly, and I invited her to pick more of my flowers any time she wanted.

What started out as an act of “Grand Theft Zinnia” turned into an unexpected friendship, all because the lady had taken steps right a situation she felt bad about.

Photo by Leyram Odacrem on Flickr CC BY-2.0

It’s sometimes like this in our relationship with God, isn’t it? When we’ve done something wrong, we fear that He harbours anger toward us and that our connection to Him has been jeopardized. We might avoid approaching Him instead of going to Him for forgiveness.

But if we have the courage to admit our failures and repent, the relationship can turn out better than before. Scripture says that His mercies are new every morning, and that:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)

So if you’ve wronged someone, whether it’s God, a family member, friend, or even a total stranger, be brave and own up to what you’ve done. Take steps to restore the relationship. Ask for forgiveness; you might be surprised at how mercifully you are received.

And you might just make an unexpected friend!

© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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