I confess that I messed up last weekend! Ever mess up? I had one of those Apostle Paul-like moments where I didn’t do the thing I should’ve done and ended up doing the thing I shouldn’t have done! Do you know what I mean? I let my emotions get the best of me and although in some respects, I could justify my anger as I felt compelled to defend my family, still my attitude and actions were wrong. What did I do? I did the very thing that I personally despise when other people do it to me! I criticized a leader behind their back to someone else. I vented. I ranted. I let off steam. I made a case. I assumed. I messed up!
In some ways, I’m almost ashamed and embarrassed to share this, but in other ways, I realize the importance of being real, without excuse, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. What I should have done, and didn’t do, was allow an appropriate time to cool down, think the situation through, and then respond instead of react in the moment! I should have practiced what I preach. I should have spoken directly to the person involved and not about them to someone else. I should have decreased so Jesus could increase! But I didn’t and had to take responsibility for the situation and the consequences it created, which I did. Needless to say, I’m glad I have enough sense and an appreciation for God’s conviction to do the right thing after you’ve done a wrong thing.
When you mess up you really only have three options: 1) Selfishly embrace your stupidity and say, “I have a right to feel this way and I don’t care if blah, blah, blah…”, 2) Acknowledge you were wrong, but really don’t do anything about it, or 3) Repent, take responsibility, and do the right thing. In the heat of the moment, I regretfully did #1. Later, like a few days, I did #2. Finally, about day 3, I did #3. Sure, the key to not messing up is to not mess up at all! But, we all do, sooner or later, mostly unintentionally, it happens. And sometimes the bad thing isn’t a bad thing because it reminds us that we’re all prone to mistakes, we all have a bad day, we all get angry, we all experience hurt and pain- that we’ve caused or been the recipient of, and as a result, we all need some grace and mercy focused our way, but as importantly, we need to have the capacity to be gracious and merciful. Sure, maybe you did or said the wrong thing, but don’t mess up even more- make it right.
Do the right thing when you’ve done the wrong thing!
I did too – I totally messed up with my daughter, Emily! Twice on Tuesday, while she was here in our home, she asked for money for things I would never pay for, and it irritated me that she even asked…knowing how I felt about those things. Later that evening, I went to get my debit card out to pay for a movie and couldn’t find it! Based on her past experiences w/ us and the fact that she asked for money twice today, my thoughts immediately went to her. Without thinking, I texted her saying, “Where is my debit card?” (Not “have you seen my debit card”), but accusing her. Of course, her response was what any of ours would be – defensive and hurt. I stewed over it during the whole movie, but when it was over, I reread my texts and realized that I didn’t ASK, I jumped to conclusions. I immediately texted her back and shared my stupidity and regret, asking for her forgiveness. At that point, I still didn’t know where the debit card was, but I did know that my actions were wrong, not well thought out, and very untimely (where I should have waited, looked for it first, and done everything I could BEFORE even approaching her). Naturally, she forgave me and instructed ME on how to better handle it next time 🙂 I love when our children teach US a lesson!