“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
I’m not sure if you know who Bob Ross is. If you don’t, I’m not entirely sure how you don’t know who he is at this point. No one person, apart from my family, had a bigger impact on me growing up than he did.
Bob Ross is best known as a painter on PBS who took the technique of wet on wet painting and entered into our living rooms through the television set over 400 episodes. He is best known for his unrelenting kindness to not just his fans but also to animals as well.
It is said that for as long as he could, while he received hundreds of pieces of mail each day and then noticed fans ceasing to write he would reach out to them to make sure they were ok.
Bob retired from a full career in the Air Force and began on this second career that would embolden himself to millions of people across the globe.
You would hardly know that the soft spoken and gentle Bob Ross spent an entire career yelling and screaming at airmen when he started talking and painting on our TV sets. He rarely discussed his service to our country. While he died on the fourth of July in 1995, he and his Joy of Painting series is still watchable on PBS and Netflix even today.
Bob Ross inspired me to paint and to pursue my artistic self.
He had a catch phrase “There are no mistakes, only happy little accidents.” When I paint and I make a happy little accident, I instantly remember his kind words of encouragement. Some of my best paintings have been the result of happy little accidents.
That is a life motto worth living, and I believe that is exactly what Jesus is trying to help us understand.
Our scripture reading today reminds us that while we may make mistakes in life, both big and little mistakes, to God they are not sources of condemnation. Our faith and repentance is sufficient.
I don’t know if you are like me, but I can sometimes dwell on mistakes. I think about that wrong thing I said months ago and worry about if it was received the way I wanted. I sometimes even dwell on the things I didn’t say. I’m not typically a worrier but I am very empathic and can also be a people-pleaser. This combination can lead to unnecessary stress and worry.
Our freedom truly is in Jesus Christ.
I am not sure if you are still holding on to shame or guilt or perhaps worry. Our scripture reading today reminds us that true repentance is enough. Repentance is getting ourselves right again with a God who holds no condemnation towards us. Be gentle with yourself; you are trying as hard as you can. Will you make mistakes? Yes. Should they define you? No. Allow yourself the grace to turn those “mistakes” into “happy little accidents” to become not stumbling blocks but rather stepping stones.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward.
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