I stole a book from my classroom library when I was in the fifth grade. It was a green book with a cloth covering. The title I no longer remember. I knew I shouldn’t take the book, that it was wrong, and if mother and daddy found out, I would be in deep trouble.
To make the book officially mine, or seem like mine, I wrote inside the front cover, “This book belongs to Glenda Williams,” so it could be easily seen. The problem was, I was the one who kept seeing that declaration, and every time I saw it, I knew it wasn’t true. Writing that the book belonged to me inside the green book didn’t make it mine.
Years and years went by and every time I saw the book I knew I had stolen it, and it wasn’t mine. I wished many times I had not written my declaration inside the book. Then I could return it to the library shelves at the back of the fifth grade classroom just as quietly as I took it. I never returned the book. The school dissolved and finally the building burned, and I still had the book. The memory of what I did still haunts me today. I don’t know where the little green book is, but wherever it is someone can read the declaration and think it belongs to me.
Sometimes it is hard to forgive ourselves for things we have done wrong, but God doesn’t take long to forgive the penitent child of His who earnestly asks for forgiveness. And even though at the age of 19 years when I was baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, I wasn’t remembering the little green book I had stolen. God knew. He forgave all my past sins as I repented, confessed my belief in Him, and He washed away all my sins in the precious blood of Jesus when I was baptized. Clean and forgiven was I, a new creature in Christ.
A child, a little green book, a declaration, a memory that continues to live on possibly forever. God has forgiven and forgotten. I should do the same.