Carole aged 9 and Tom
Boys and girls, have you ever said, "It's not fair! It's not my fault!" or "I didn't do it!" when you've been blamed for something you didn't do? I'm sure you have. It makes you feel really cross, doesn't it? Maybe you've even plotted to get even.
Well, Jesus was often accused of doing things He'd not done, but unlike us He never said, "It's not fair! I didn't do anything wrong!" Instead He forgave His accusers.
I'm pretty sure though that none of you have ever been blamed for letting a cat get into a fridge, like I was!
I was 9 years old at the time. The weather was hot, really hot. It was 40 degrees Celsius in the shade, that's if you could find any.
I opened the fridge door to take out a home-made ice-block from the tiny freezer-box, when I heard a meow coming from inside the fridge. I took out a lime ice-block, my favourite and then I heard it again. "Meow."
I looked down and right at the back of the fridge, on the bottom shelf, sitting on top of some wilting celery, was Tom! Tom seemed very comfortable lying there, thank you very much, enjoying the fridge's coolness.
He shot me a scathing look from his narrowed yellow eyes and flicked his tail as if to say, "shut the door will you, I'm getting hot in here!"
"Mu-um!" I bellowed, holding the fridge door partly open. "Tom's in the fridge again!"
"Then get him out, will you!" mum yelled back to me from somewhere in the house. "I'm busy and close that fridge door properly this time. You're always letting that cat get in. I'm sick of cat fur on the vegies!"
Somehow or other I always seemed to cop the blame whenever something went wrong. Like a cat that fancied himself as a 'Real Cool Cat!'
Maybe it was because I was the youngest in the family and therefore the easiest one to pick on. I never did work it out.
"Mu-um! Tom won't budge and he just bit me!" I wailed sucking the blood from my finger. "Please come and help me!"
"You must have left the fridge door open for too long when you made those ice-blocks." Mum chided me when she finally came to my rescue. "You know how quick Tom is."
Together mum and I dragged the protesting cat from his resting place, bringing out most of the celery along with him.
"Always check the fridge before you close the door from now on, will you." Mum instructed me, as she massaged some life back into Tom's cold stiffened legs.
"Or else the next time we might find a dead cold cat inside, not just a cold one!" But despite checking and rechecking the fridge, that darn cat somehow always managed to find his way into it and somehow I always managed to get blamed for it. It just wasn't fair!
One day dad finally solved the puzzle when he delved further back into the fridge after dragging Tom out, yet again. He found that rust had set in and there was a smallish cat size hole right at the back of the fridge.
Our kitchen was quite dark, even in summer, due to a huge wattle tree that grew near the window, blocking out the sunlight. We kids were never allowed to turn on the light that hung from the ceiling on a long cord until we couldn't see our hands in front of our face; which was nearly all the time! Plus the fridge itself didn't have a working light inside it. So finding a hole in the back of a darkened fridge, in an equally darkened kitchen, was no mean feat. It would be like finding a black bear in a coal mine!
It turned out that whenever the urge to cool off came over him, Tom must have flattened himself, crawled underneath the fridge and climbed in through the hole at the back. And of course, unbeknown to us, he could get out just as easily again.
It was lucky for him though that we had an electric fridge and not a kero one like they had at my friend Jenny's place next door, or else Tom would have been roasted long before he'd ever been able to cool off!
At least dad's discovery stopped me from being blamed for Tom getting in the fridge and as he fixed the hole up Tom had to find somewhere else to cool off from then on whenever the temperature soared!
So boys and girls, if you've ever been blamed for doing something you didn't do, or if you've been misunderstood, please, don't let it make you become bitter.
Because if you let bitterness take root in your heart it will grow up into a huge tree that will shade out God's Love; just like the wattle tree shaded out the sunlight from our kitchen.
It's far better to tell God about it and ask Him to help you overcome it and forgive your accusers, than to let it eat away at you and darken your life.