Garrison Keillor sings a song about a man who does not help his weakened father or his mother in rags or even his sick daughter. They each beg for his help and each time he says “I won’t feel guilty for I am not to blame.” Then his cat enters the room and looks at him. She just looks. And keeps on looking. Soon he falls to her feet in anguished weeping for his sins. 

I know that feeling every time I clean my house. As I get out the cleaning stuff, Muffy gives me a look of disbelief and sadly makes her way to her haven under the bed. She stays there until the monster (the vacuum) gets close. Then she runs out of the room to a safer place. I finish vacuuming and call out “all done”—so she can relax. I put it away and go to where she is to reassure her. 

Sitting on the stairs, she looks the look. There are a lot of things in that look. Betrayal, disappointment, unhappiness. And I get the distinct impression that my character has a fatal flaw. As the look continues, my reassurance begins to degenerate into apology. And each time it happens I wonder at it. How does she do that? I really don’t need to feel guilty for cleaning my house.

But there are many things that I could feel guilt about—because I am. Jesus died on that cross for a reason. I am guilty. He took the punishment I rightly deserved. He took the guilt, too. Because of His work, I am a child of God and I can come to Him unafraid, trusting in His loving welcome. 

Muffy will probably always make me feel guilty for cleaning my house. But I’ll use it to remember that my real guilt was dealt with by my Savior and Hero, Jesus Christ. And I’ll thank Him again.

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