Once there was a very nervous and timid boy. He was not as awkward as he felt, but he was awkward and gangly. The junior high school where he attended had a group of girls in it that he admired very much, although he had never really had a chance to say much of anything to them. There were not really any opportunities, and when there may have been an opportunity, he was too nervous.
But one day, rounding a corner in the hallway, there was this cluster of girls, and there was no way to avoid them, no way get out of acknowledging them in some significant way, perhaps even saying hi.
As he approached, their heads all turned to see who it was, and just as their eyes fell upon him, his feet became unbearably unwieldy, and I am afraid to say that he tripped and fell over like a huge pine felled by an expert logger. His arms were full of books, and he had no time to catch himself. He fell flat completely, and onto his face. Of course his thoughts were in slow motion, and as he went down he was thinking things like, “This is awful.” “Perhaps my parents will transfer me to another school.” “This is awful.” But by the time he reached the floor his mind was made up. He was just going to stay there, flat on his face.
And, of course, after the service, a number of people asked the pastor, “What was that about?” And when they asked, he sought to make the point of the story plain to them. “Whenever you sin in the presence of others, make sure you just lie on your face like that wise boy. The chances are good that nobody noticed what you did.”