Dear Gabby,

My college has a winter dance every February. Before I went back to school, I thought I would borrow my mother’s birthstone necklace with diamonds to wear with my dress. No, I didn’t ask her. She rarely wears it so I figured I’d bring it back in a couple of weeks. But a week after I took it, apparently she discovered it was missing – right after the repairman came to fix our cable TV. I didn’t know it, but she filed a burglary report with the police and her insurance company. By the time I heard about it, everything was underway. I was so shocked that I said nothing. I don’t know how to tell her the truth, so I still have her necklace. I know she would totally freak! Should I just let sleeping dogs lie?

Nervous in Norfolk

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

You do have one gem of a problem, Nervous, but unlike the missing necklace, this one isn’t borrowed; it’s 100 percent yours. But take heart, because this problem is not insurmountable, and by looking at the above verse, I bet you know exactly what Gabby is going to tell you. You know what they say about the nose on your face… No, do not listen to Heidi Montag, your nose is just fine. What I mean is the answer is staring right at you! You need to ‘fess up to your mother. Oh yes you do, and it is not too late. Rouse that sleeping dog!

C’mon, think about all the lies that go into maintaining your mistake: you have to hide that necklace FOREVER, you can never show any pictures of yourself at the dance, no one who saw you wear it can acknowledge that they saw you in it. This is exhausting! It’s no sleeping dog – this dog is rabid! And he’s going to be after you for a long time to come – like every time you remember how the cable guy’s good name was dragged through the mud on suspicion of theft. You may have put his job at stake – in a recession, no less! He may have a family, a mortgage – all at peril. What about your parents being suspected of insurance fraud, and the unsolved crime in your city’s police records?

Gabby knows without a doubt that you already know the right thing to do and that you’re just putting off what needs to be done. Like ripping off a bandage, the confession part is going to sting a bit. There’s no way around it. Unfortunately, your parents have been put in a similar situation and will have to right an embarrassing wrong as well. But it will be such a relief to take the honorable road, even if it means you have to backtrack a little to get to it.

Nervous, what you did was wrong, but not unforgivable. It seemed like just a tiny wrong at the time you considered it, I’m sure. And perhaps you feel like a victim of circumstance because had Mom not noticed it missing, there would have been no harm/no foul. Take note for the future that festering sores often start by picking at tiny pimples. Just say no to picking at pimples!

With Lent upon us, the idea of repentance – or turning back from the things that separate us from God – is right before you, Nervous. Embrace Lent. Let the air and the light into this festering sore, and you will undoubtedly find some healing relief. That’s the beauty about telling the truth. That’s the beauty of our Christian faith. Jesus tells us He is the Way and the Truth and the Light. Follow Him, knowing God has forgiven you completely, and eventually – freak out or not – your mother will too.

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