When I was about 12 years old I was spending the summer with my grandparents in Arkansas. One morning my grandfather had taken us to the house of an older member of the family to help cut the grass and clean up the yard. The job for my brothers and I was to use the two push-mowers while my grandfather used his electric weed eater with the 75-foot extension cord.
While mowing the yard, I inadvertently ran over the extension cord, not seeing it through the thick grass. My grandfather, who was on the other side of the house at the time, came looking to see why his weed eater had stopped. We looked at the problem for a moment, with me almost in tears apologizing, and found that it was a simple fix and the cord would continue to work with a little patching. As he wound the cord with electrical tape and I was apologizing for the umpteenth time, he finally looked at me and said, “Look at this.” He showed me a place about 20 feet down the line that was covered in the same style of electrical tape he was currently using. “This is where I ran over the cord with the mower a while back,” he explained. Then he quietly said, “You haven’t done anything someone else hasn’t done before.”
That little statement, and the way he responded, has always stuck with me. When we make mistakes or are dealing with problems in life, we like to think our situations are unique, when in reality: “You haven’t done anything someone else hasn’t done before.”
We need to be equally mindful of this when dealing with sin and salvation. When God says he will save us, no matter the sins, as long as we come in repentance and obedience, people often say: “You don’t know what I’ve done.” That may be true, but I guarantee you it’s nothing others have not done before. Look through the Scriptures and see the things that the people of God did, and God was still willing to forgive them: lying, cheating, stealing, killing, adultery, fornication, idolatry, and on the list goes.
I am reminded of the Lord’s words to Sarah when he told her she would have a son: “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” We all make mistakes, we all sin and come short of the glory of God, but we haven’t done anything that hasn’t been done before.
Therefore, let us come before God with humility. Let us look to our fellow men, not with indignant looks and hurtful words, but with understanding hearts and helpful minds as we genuinely show others through God’s Word: “You haven’t done anything someone else hasn’t done before.”