I ran into a parked car today.

Well, it wasn’t quite as bad as that sounds. I accidentally tagged an SUV (hello white Lexus) while pulling into a parking spot at the gym this morning. Oops. 

I felt an unusual tug of resistance scrape against my car—triggering immediate cringe reflexes and the impulse to sink low into my seat. My heart froze as I glanced through the passenger window to see if there was any visible damage.

I’m embarrassed to say that I was instantaneously tempted to grab my purse, unbuckle Jack from his car seat, and walk nonchalantly into the gym without so much as a second glance at our cars. Ignorance is bliss, right? But, instead, I grew some you-know-whats and took the walk of shame around our cars, revealing a few obvious scratches on both vehicles.

I hate how my sinful nature just sits there—waiting for an unlocked door. And I was reminded how we usually do one of three things (often all three) when faced with our own moral compass:

We hide.

We blame.

We justify.

Back in the garden, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God, the first thing they did was hide. Then he blamed her and she blamed the serpent and it all started spinning out of control. “It was the woman you gave me,” Adam reminded God. “But that slimy snake lied to me,” Eve explained.

It’s easy to think we would’ve behaved better, because we’d never do that—right? But we often forget that our sin carried Jesus to the cross just as much as theirs did. And our thoughts are sometimes more telling than our actions.

Maybe I’ll just head into the gym without leaving a note. They probably won’t even notice. (hide)

Their driver’s side rear-end was on the line anyway. They should park straight if they don’t want to get hit. (blame)

It’s not like I meant to snip their car. I’ve never done anything like this in the past. (justify)

In the end, I left a note on the windshield—apologizing, explaining what happened, and leaving my information. I was prepared to face the music. But you know what? I got the sweetest little grace-filled text from a complete stranger just a second ago.

“Hi, I just saw your note on my windshield! Bless my heart for driving home not seeing it. LOL. My car looks just fine, I’ve got scratches all over so no worries at all. You are just awesome for leaving a note though. I appreciate your character. Have a great day!”  

Are you kidding me? Not only did she overlook my wrong, but breathed grace and encouragement into my life as well. (She didn’t know that my character was touch and go for a good ten minutes, but I’ll take what I can get.)

If you happen to be staring at some kind of wreck today, there’s good news. You don’t have to hide, blame, or justify—even if that’s what your flesh wants to do. Instead, search for higher ground. And don’t wait, or the waves might pull you under. Be honest instead of hiding, take ownership instead of blaming, and call it like it is instead of justifying what went wrong.

You never know. God might just use it as an opportunity to remind you of His grace.

And if you’re reading this, Mrs. White Lexus, thank you.