Recently I have been pondering how to "move on" from personal mistakes or moral failure. We all make mistakes, failing to measure up to God's or our own standards and expectations, don't we? Words are said, actions taken, responsibilities neglected, promises broken, expectations crushed, and weaknesses exposed. Christians are not immune on this side of eternity from willfully or accidentally acting in ways that dishonor God and hurt others and ourselves.
The Bible is pretty clear about how to bounce back when we willfully or accidentally sin or just plain make mistakes. Here is a brief summary . . .
1. Call a spade a spade: Psalm 32:5 says: "Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity"Acknowledge the mistake or failure for what it is. If sin is involved, (rebellion against God or lack of love and respect toward our neighbors) own it!
2. Confess to God first. Psalm 51:10 says, "Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit with me." Getting right with God opens doors for peace, reconciliation, and power for dealing with the mistake or failure.
3. Ask God for wisdom, insight, conviction, perspective and strength to face the mistake or failure. Psalm 77:2 says, "When I was in distress, I sought the Lord." Also, Matthew 7:7 says, "Ask and it shall be given to you."
4. Seek wise counsel if necessary to discern how to deal with the mistake or failure. Proverbs 15:22 says, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed." A trusted friend can give perspective, offer prayer, and provide help with moving forward.
5. Make amends quickly with those you have failed. Matthew 5:25 says "Settle matters quickly with your adversary." An important aspect of bouncing back is taking responsibility for our actions and, as much as it depends on us, seeking to right our wrongs.
6. Remember God's promises: Romans 8:1 says, "No condemnation remains for those who are in Christ Jesus" - Don't get paralyzed by guilt. Remember, that "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret" (2 Corinthians 7:10).
7. Ask God to transform the mistake or failure for good.Romans 8:28 says, "God works all things together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purposes."
8. After steps 1 - 7, Let it go. Psalm 103:12, says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has God removed our transgressions from us." Move on, asking for God's perspective and the power to keep from making the same mistake again.
Our God delights in redeeming mistakes. Will we let him? Oh, and one more thing: When we undergo this process ourselves, it makes it easier to offer forgiveness to others when they sin or make mistakes against us.
About the ResBlog
Members of staff and Vestry will be posting on the ResBlog to help us think through who we are in light of the gospel so that we might “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”