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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Admit it...you were wrong

Have you ever been so wrong you were ashamed to admit it?  I know this has happened to me on some occasions and all I want to do is "save face" as much as possible because my "wrong-ness" was pretty "out there" for everyone to see!  What I said or did was just so off-the-mark that it was pretty apparent to anyone who was there knew I was "wrong".  It is human nature to make mistakes.  It is also human nature to want to hide them or cover them up!  The only problem with that response to the mistake is that it then has a chance to go uncorrected.  A mistake is really an aberration from what should have occurred - it is a misstep.  Missteps sometimes lead to "missed steps" in our lives - one of which is the power and privilege of confession!  

A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. (Proverbs 28:12 TLB)

When we acknowledge a mistake, there is something which happens deep within us that is invaluable - we begin to form a pattern of "learning".  As we begin to be honest with ourselves about our mistakes, we want to find a way of setting right what is obviously wrong in the steps we took.  Confession is always based on "hindsight".  We respond one way, realizing the response wasn't what it should have been, then we admit to it, ask for help taking the right steps to correct the misstep and get back to where we can "do again" what we didn't do so well the first time.  The truth of the matter is pretty simple - mistakes are opportunities for us to learn something.  We learn to do things differently than how we did them the time we took the misstep.  If we never allow our mistakes to become learning opportunities for us, we will never take steps forward in our lives.

Errors in judgment are one thing, but an all-out deliberate choice to say or do the wrong thing is another.  One is pretty much without thought, while the other is calculated and planned.  I don't think God wants either of these in our lives, though.  He wants us to be as sensitive to the things we would call "errors in judgment" as much as we are the all-out actions of rebellion in our lives.  Why does he desire us to be sensitive to both?  Both have the potential to become bigger issues if left unconfessed - and in turn, never creating an opportunity for us to learn to avoid those missteps again!  Admitting we made a mistake is the first step in moving toward a change in the direction we took in the first place.  

Maybe a little illustration will help.  We all have probably missed a freeway exit or taken a wrong turn at some point in our lives which set us on a course we didn't really want to take. When this happens, we may find ourselves taken a bit further out of our way than we wanted to be taken, simply because that road or path doesn't have an opportunity for us to turn around anytime soon.  We continued on the course we set by not making the turn when we were supposed to because the path we were didn't "afford" the opportunity for correction of that course until a point much later than what we hoped for.  This is how sin has a way of causing us a great deal more problems than we might have wanted - the course is set and we follow it until we find an opportunity for correction.  As soon as we admit we missed the turn, the quicker we are aware we need a course correction.  Until we admit it, we are bound to continue, even though there may have been an earlier "exit" from the wrong path.

Adjustments in our course of action can only be made when we realize they are needed and then respond to that awareness with obedient submission to the course correction required. We can see many an exit to our wrong course, but it is quite possible we don't make the adjustments to our actions in order to put us in a position to take that exit.  We might be too far over in one lane to make that next exit, taking us even further down the path we didn't want to be traveling.  To be in the place to make correction, we have to be prepared and alert to the first opportunity to "exit" the path we are on.  This means we sometimes have to acknowledge, in humility, that we made a mistake - we went in the wrong direction.  Then we have to slow down long enough to make the adjustments necessary to get us back on course.

Rather than "saving face" by attempting to cover-up our missteps, we do ourselves much more of a favor by acknowledging them - confession being the beginning of course correction in our lives.  As hard as it is to be honest when we fail to take the right path in life, it is much harder to return to the right path when we are too stubborn to admit a course correction is necessary!  Just sayin!