I sauntered out the doors of St. Thomas More School and headed across the street to the mall with a friend of mine. We headed to the arcade to play a few games or pinball then bummed around the mall for a bit. Cruising through Sears our eyes got a glimpse of these cool little pinball machines. That would be cool to have. No one was looking and the door was near. The game was snatched. Once on the outside we realized we had a dilemma. There was one game and two of us. The solution was simple. Snatch another one. Back in the store, game procured, we made our way to the exit not noticing the guy standing next to the door.
Before we knew it we he had us by the arm and was leading us to the security office. He took our names and phone numbers, banned us from Sears forever, and warned us if we didn’t tell out parents he would file shoplifting charges on us. My mother worked at the school at the time so I headed back there to tell her the good news. This time there was no saunter in my step. I found her and broke the news to her what I had done. Having to look my mother in the eye and tell her was one of the most difficult moments of my life. I had let down the woman who worked her tail off to provide for me and had a love for me that knew no limit. That’s what hurt the must. I wronged the one who had never wronged me. Yet, although there was a glint of disappointment in her eye, the overriding atmosphere of the moment was the love she still had for me.
I ponder that las night of Jesus when He stood in the courtyard. Peter was there. He had just spent the day failing Jesus left and right. It reached rock bottom when that rooster crowed the third time. Luke tells us in that moment, “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter” (22:61). Peter was crushed and ran from the place bitterly weeping. In that moment I see the same gaze I saw from my mother that day in the school. Disappointment? Absolutely! Yet also a gaze that expressed a love for this man He had poured His life into.
I am thankful for that shared moment I have with Peter. Not that either one of us deserved it, but that we learned to understand the depth of love for someone who, at that moment should have been undeserving of love. Unconditional love is an expression of love that is tough to fully comprehend. But I am thankful for it.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).