I am an avid stitcher. I love working counted cross-stitch patterns. I learned from my mother when I was in my early 20s, and it has since been a pleasing outlet for my creativity and also a way to relieve stress.
Many years ago, I was in Silver Dollar City and found a small, hole-in-the-wall shop that sold cross-stitch sampler patterns. Around the top over all four walls were old, completed samplers and as I gazed around the room at the delightful colors and intricacies of the different patterns, I noticed one sampler in particular. It began A B C D as you would expect, but then skipped to F G H and so on. Between the D and F there was a caret, an insertion mark that indicated something was being added at that spot, and above the caret was an E stitched at a crooked angle. I was intrigued. I thought why wouldn’t they recount, remove the incorrect stitching and just make the correction. I asked the storekeeper and he told me that a couple hundred years earlier people believed that only God was perfect, so they would deliberately make a mistake to prove that belief to be true.
Sometime after my visit to that shop, I began stitching a set of four patterns, seasonal flowers – winter, spring, summer and fall – in different baskets and pots. The first three I completed perfectly, but while I stitched the flowers of the fourth pattern perfectly, I incorrectly counted while stitching the flowerpot. I didn’t notice at first. It took a couple or three rows before I began to see the results of the error I had made. I didn’t have to deliberately make a mistake to prove that God is perfect and I am not. I thought I should take the stitching out and do it correctly, but then I thought about what I’d learned that day in that shop. One mistake could change everything in a picture. So, I left it and you can see that the error caused my flowerpot to have a crack in it.
That got me thinking about spiritual choices. The decisions we make regarding right and wrong, the choices we make that result in yielding to temptation and ultimately sin. One sin can lead to another and then another. We are often unaware of what we have done until the results can be seen, like the crack in the flowerpot. You might say, “I made a choice and I felt so bad when I realized what I had done, that I corrected the action and I’ve never done it again.” Praise God! I worked another, very elaborate cross-stitch pattern of a Japanese geisha. She had a flowing robe and in the fold of the robe, I made a mistake. I searched and searched to find that mistake, but I was never able to locate it so that I could correct it. As a result, while no one else can see the error and no matter how well I may have been able to get back on track, the results of that error in counting can still be seen, if only by me.
It is the same with sin. One sin can have consequences, unfortunately, that cannot be changed. You might sin and realize what you’ve done and correct your course, but the consequences of that sin will remain; sometimes seen by all, like the flowerpot and sometimes, like the Japanese geisha, seen only by you and God.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).