This story has been passed around several times. The author is unknown; this is my take on it.
There was a young lad named Johnny playing with his new slingshot in his Grandma’s backyard. It wasn’t a fancy slingshot and certainly not accurate. With a boy’s imagination, he could be big game hunting or James Bond shooting bad guys and go back and forth in a second. Tragically, it all changed in a moment. Grandma’s pet duck came around the corner and Johnny fired immediately at the intruder. While his aim was impeccable in his mind, the reality was quite different, and yet the duck was struck dead.
Johnny’s whole world changed in a heartbeat. He ran to the duck and grabbed it up, his mind panicking, and his thinking in slow motion. Oh how Grandma loved the duck. She would be so upset with him. He ran to a good hiding place behind the wood pile and laid the Duck down. While he was trying to walk nonchalantly back to the house, his mind was racing so fast that he could barely breathe. Johnny looked around and saw his older sister Sally watching him. Then his racing mind was flooded with guilt. Quickly he strolled to the front yard anxiously hoping the day could be like every other day.
Later that evening as they finished dinner and Grandma said, “Come on Sally. It is your turn to help with the dishes.”
Sally didn’t even miss a beat and said, “Grandma, Johnny said he wanted to help you tonight.” Then Sally looked at Johnny as if she were suddenly crowned queen, and she mouthed remember the duck.
That’s the way it went for weeks, Every time Johnny’s countenance would drop with his shoulders as he headed to the sink. One of their cousins came over, she was the same age as Sally, and the girls would whisper and then laugh when Johnny came close. He just felt terrible; finally he could not take it anymore, besides what could possibly be worse than washing a million dishes every time.
Johnny took a deep breath and went and confessed to his Grandma. He fought back tears as he stammered it out, even though she was upset (Johnny didn’t know it wasn’t about the duck, she was upset for him) Grandma still seemed loving towards him. When Johnny finished, she grabbed him, and hugged him and said, “I know, my dear, I saw the whole thing through the kitchen window. I just wanted to see how long you were going to be a slave to your sister.”
Grandma led Johnny to the kitchen table and set him down with a class of tea. She said, “While I truly enjoyed the pet duck, I love you, with my whole heart, and nothing will ever change that. You will make mistakes from time to time, she went on, but nothing will ever change my love for you. I will always love you Johnny. You are part of my family, you are part of me.”
In this story, Grandma is a picture of God’s love towards His children. When you are saved you belong to Jesus and He loves you deeply and sincerely and nothing can separate you from God’s love. When we sin and forget that we belong to Jesus, all we need to do is confess, and ask Jesus to forgive us. The Bible says when we do, He does not remember it any more. Then we must forgive ourselves, and learn from our mistakes.
While all our lives are much more complex than Johnny’s, with endless mitigating circumstances, the principle is the same. You must believe in Jesus, follow Him (seek Him), love Him with your whole heart, and trust Him. You will make mistakes from time to time, but nothing will ever change His love for you. Live like you are forgiven! No matter what they say! Go to church!