I know it is hard for you to imagine. One day you may do or say something wrong. I know it sounds hard to believe right now, but you have to admit it is a small possibility.
Let’s imagine for a minute that it does happen. My question is, “How are you going to respond to your mistake?”
Our usual course of action is to deny first. Then place blame on someone else. Maybe we offer up a litany of excuses. We downplay the mistake or compare it to the problems of other people.
I want to suggest to you that there is a way to handle your mistakes.
1. Admit it. Say the words out loud, “I was wrong.” These might be the toughest words in the English language to say when they are put together. Verbalize your failure. Tell someone if you hurt them. Accept Blame. Don’t make excuses. Don’t blame other people. Own it as your mistake.
2. Accept Consequences. These may be great or small. This may mean you hurt a relationship beyond repair. It may mean you need to pay for your mistake. It may pass quickly, but damage will be done.
3. Apologize. Say the words, “I am sorry for …” You fill in the blank with exactly what you did wrong. If you have hurt someone the biggest step toward restoration is an authentic apology. You can ask someone to forgive you too, but do not expect an immediate response.
4. Change Wrong Thoughts or Behaviors. If you have done something wrong, stop doing it. It is as simple as that. Change the way you handle people and issues. You do not have to repeat your mistakes.
5. Welcome Grace. Allow God to forgive you and accept it in your heart. The Bible does not talk about the concept of forgiving ourselves. Instead, we are challenged to believe that God has really forgiven us. Jesus died for your sins, and no one needs to suffer for them anymore.
I know all this sounds so simple, but every week I meet people who are carrying around all the baggage from their mistakes. They hold onto guilt and shame. They haven’t said the words that will bring healing. They refuse grace in their life and are unwilling to show it to others.
You will make mistakes. Don’t let how you handle that problem become another mistake.