When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly." Exodus 17:1-2 NKJV
My friend's 4 year old son, found a gecko while playing in the backyard. He carefully placed it in his BugBox with grass and brought in the house to show his mom. Previously the two had discussed people's responsibility to "care for God's creations," and the need to allow nature to be free. The boy and his mother agreed that the gecko could remain for a time, but the boy agreed that he would release it in the backyard before bedtime.
The next morning, the boy carrying the BugBox enterd the kitchen tears streaming down his cheeks. Inside was a dead gecko. After questioning her son, my friend determined that when her son went out to release the gecko, he decided it was too cold and that it would be better to release the gecko in the morning. "I've killed it! God will be mad that I killed His 'creet'n.' "
The young boy could not have know the gecko would die over night. How was the mom to explain the difference. The Ten Commandments in Exodus clearly stated, DO NOT KILL. The gecko's death was an accident, without premeditation or harmful intent, actually quite the opposite. The young boy was trying to give it a nice warm place to sleep.
What is the difference between sin and an unintentional mistake? What does it mean to be blameless before God? Exodus 35 says murder is when you kill out of "malice aforethought shoves another or throws something at them intentionally so that they die," or "out of enmity one person hits another with their fist so that the other dies." In contrast, "if without enmity someone suddenly pushes another or throws something at them unintentionally or, without seeing them, drops on them a stone heavy enough to kill them...then since that other person was not an enemy and no harm was intended" this is not murder, but an accident and therefore a blameless act. While this is hard to explain to a 4 year-old, it is easy to explain something done "on purpose" or an "accident." This is the meaning of blameless, a mistake, a circumstance caused not out of recklessness, intentional malice or willful intent or aforethought (premeditated).
The LORD knows we are weak, imperfect people, we are going to mess up, causing damage to people and things. In the Genesis conversation with Abram, God did not command Abram to be sinless or perfect because He knew that would be impossible. What He commanded was for Abram to be "blameless," to not intentionally cause harm. However, both God and Abram knew even that was not within Abram's ability. It is for this reason the Genesis account continues with God demonstration to Abram that He would cover the sins, blameless or intentional. The good news for our 4 year-old is that he is not guilty of murder, but simple disobedience, although well intentioned. His tender heart is able to apologize and receive God's mercy and forgiveness. Nothing is ever wasted in God's eyes, the death of a gecko to teach a young boy about sin and forgiveness, I believe, brings a smile to the Father's eyes.
Holy Creator, LORD of All Creation, You have established the boundary lines in our world for a reason. May we learn to submit to Your authority, knowing You know what is best. As we strive to walk before You blameless, we acknowledge our weakness, so we can live as good as examples for our children Tender our hearts when we step outside the lines, to be quick to repentance, and to learn from our mistakes. Thank You for Your unconditional forgiveness. Amen