Have you ever made a mistake or committed an offense that you confessed to?  What was the result of your admission?  Did you receive justice and mercy, or did you get what you deserved?  Or perhaps you didn’t confess to it and lay in hiding, never to come clean.

We’ve all taken wrong turns, perhaps many of the heart, or maybe it was just a simple traffic ticket or something unintentional such as a practical joke that offended someone, but we have all committed them. And although God is not indifferent towards them, He never ceases being merciful to the repentant one because of His lovingkindness.

Some wrong turns are innocent and perhaps done in fun.  Mine was.  But in the corporate world, my company did not look kindly on a particular one, a prank I and a colleague intended for a laugh. When an inquest ensued to discover the culprits behind the prank, I was guilty in the court of my own conscience.

It was a wrong turn. It was a joke “gone bad” that now haunted me every day.  For some reason, I got this sophomoric idea to post in several of the restrooms, a fictitious, but somewhat believable inter-office memorandum from Employee Relations called Restroom Trip Policy.  It was pure stupidity. It was immature of me, although in my own defense, I was still a kid at heart and 20 something.

Here is what I posted. 

RESTROOM TRIP POLICY

TO: ALL EMPLOYEES
FROM: EMPLOYEE RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
SUBJECT: RESTROOM TRIP POLICY (RTP)

“In the past, employees were permitted to make trips to the restroom under informal guidelines.  Effective April 1987, a RESTROOM TRIP POLICY (RTP) will be established to provide a consistent method of accounting for each employee’s restroom time and ensuring equal treatment for all employees.

Under this policy, a “RESTROOM TRIP BLANK” will be established for each employee.  The first day of each month, employees will be given a Restroom Trip Credit of 30.  Restroom Trip Credits can be accumulated from month to month.

Currently, the entrances of all restrooms are being equipped with personnel identification stations and computer-linked voiceprint recognition.  During the next two weeks, each employee must provide two copies of voiceprints (one normal, one under stress) to the office of the president.  The voiceprint recognition stations will be operational, but not restrictive, for the month of April; employees should acquaint themselves with the stations during that period.  If an employee’s Restroom Trip Blank balance reaches zero, the doors of all restrooms will remain locked for that employee’s voice until the first of the following month.

In addition, all restroom stalls are being equipped with timed paper roll retractors.  If the stall is occupied for more than three minutes, an alarm will sound.  The roll of paper in the stall will retract, the toilet will flush and the door will open.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new policy, please ask your supervisor.  We expect your cooperation with the RTP program.  Thank you.

Well, if it were not for some gullible employee who believed the policy to be true, everyone would have just had a good laugh. Unfortunately, the president of the company got wind of it and didn’t think it so funny. All notices were immediately removed from the restrooms, and to my horror, a witch hunt began. It was incredulous to think that anyone would even take this seriously.

Oh, how I wished Jesus would come to my rescue, and that management would somehow forget the whole thing. The Bible passage –  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30), kept going through my head.  But so also did, “And ye shall confess your sins and come clean with it.”  

My heart began to race as I thought about the “what ifs” of confessing my accidental crime. But, I also deeply wanted to have the courage to bring my prank out of the dark and into the light.

So, after 7-days of inquisitions, I finally went to my manager and made a full confession of it.  Much to my surprise, he laughed, yet I was still sternly reprimanded. He would pardon me this one time. Wow! my worst fears were not realized.  Jesus had worked in my manager’s heart and mine.  Case closed! Forgiven!

In retrospect, I was fortunate to have been dealt mercy, for in a world today where justice and mercy are usually administered by a judge and jury who determine the innocence or guilt of a person being tried, there is no sure guarantee that judgment will be fair, or that one will be forgiven.

The Bible says that all have sinned and that subsequently we will all be judged for our sins. Will God show mercy to you?

Small thought here

With God, He is always fair; His mercy is unfathomable. “God’s justice gives us what we deserve, God’s grace gives us what we do not deserve, and God’s mercy withholds what we deserve.”

The Last Laugh

When I left the company after 4 ½ years to pursue another opportunity, some of my colleagues in the office played a practical joke on me. It was all in good fun.

I worked in computers for the Defense Systems department of my company which designed guidance systems and assembled missiles for the US Navy. Upon entering and exiting the building, I had to go through a security checkpoint. On my last day of employment, all company files and items belonging to the company were to be turned over before leaving, which I did.  As I walked through the security gate, as usual, I was asked to open my briefcase.  Unawares to me, security found an office telephone stuffed in my briefcase, which so happened to have been planted by my colleagues as a joke. Who had the last laugh now?  

Copyright 2016 by Bill Hutzel

Join the Conversation

2 Comments

  1. Oh, Bill, that was funny. Good message of God’s mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.