The Joey Chronicles – 3 John / “Walking in Freedom”
When Pastor John was growing up he had an imaginary friend named Joey.
These are growing up stories told from Joey’s point of view!
Joey wasn’t the smartest one in his class at school but he wasn’t the dumbest one either. Sometimes he got A’s. Sometimes he got B’s. And the only times he got C’s were when he had problems in math or with a science project.
The best part of school for Joey was seeing his friends, hamburger days at lunch, and playing baseball on the lower field at recess.
Dad and Mom always told Joey he didn’t have to have all A’s if they knew he did the best he could. But they did expect to see a few A’s on his report card.
That’s why Joey knew he was in trouble.
He held the long-awaited report card in his hand and looked down at the two B’s and three C’s.
He had waited until he was in the school library by himself to open his report card and he sat there thinking about what he should do.
Then Joey made it worse.
When nobody was looking he carefully forged his Dad’s signature on the parent response card in the envelope and took the report card home and hid it in the top of his closet.
There were always a few pair of pants folded in the top of his closet and by pushing his report card way to the back of the shelf he was reasonably sure his Mom wouldn’t find it.
Every morning Joey would get out of bed and look at the top of his closet. Every breakfast he waited for someone to say something, but they never did.
About the second week after he hid his report card, Joey’s leg started to hurt. He still could play baseball with his friends but he was limping and he couldn’t run as fast as he had before.
“Joey, you are slower than molasses!” his friends teased.
“I know, I know.” Joey worried that it might be something serious and kept rubbing his leg hoping it would feel better.
Then the morning came when Mom said, “Joey, isn’t about time for your report card?
Joey jumped in the kitchen chair as he felt a sharp pain in his leg. “Oh yeah. I did get it. I just forgot to give it to you Mom.”
Joey went to the bedroom closet and then slowly brought out the report card.
She had a curious look in her eyes as she took it from him.
“Have you been hiding this from me?”
“Uh no. I mean, yes. I DIDN’T WANT TO SHOW IT TO YOU BECAUSE YOU WOULD BE MAD AND I PUT DAD’S SIGNATURE ON IT AND I WAS SCARED AND I’M SORRY MOM.” Joey had burst into tears and slumped in his chair.
Mom silently looked at Joey and then at his report card.
“I know your science and math teachers are hard this year so I don’t think this report card is too bad after all.”
“Really?” Joey said disbelievingly. “But…”
“Have you been worrying about this for a long time?”
“Don’t ever do this again Joey.”
“Now go out and play with your friends until supper. You are going to tell Dad about forging his signature when he gets home. You know that, don’t you?”
“Yes, Mom. I’m sorry Mom.”
Joey knew there would be consequences, but his heart was lighter than it had been for weeks as he headed to the playground.
He smiled as he realized – the limp was gone.
In the book of 3rd John a man named Gaius was honored for his love for others because of his love for Jesus. Another man named Diotrephes said he loved Jesus but he didn’t show it at all.
Joey realized that when he covered up things like his report card he had a hard time showing love to others and especially loving himself the way Jesus loves him.
“Dear Jesus, help me not to cover up my mistakes but to say I am sorry right away. I want to love other people like Gaius did and I want to feel free and never limp again because of hiding things from You. In Jesus name, Amen.