You know that moment…that moment when the realization you’ve done something really stupid dawns on you. Then the familiar voices start screaming in your head confirming your really stupid decision and the fact you are a loser and always do the wrong thing…yea that moment.
We tend to be really hard on ourselves and are usually the first one to beat ourselves up. But then the people we hope will be gracious with our mistake only confirm how wrong we were, how messed up we are and how disappointed they are in us. But is that really the best way to handle this situation? After all we of all people already know we screwed up, no one needs to remind us.
So what would be the best way to approach people in that situation? Let’s look at how Jesus, our example, handled it. John 8:3-9, ”The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, 4 They said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. 5“Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” 6They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. 7But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
So…this woman was caught red handed doing the no-no and not with her husband. That was a pretty big mistake. Our beautiful Jesus handled her like a pro. He didn’t remind her of the Law or side with the Pharisee’s on her punishment. Even though He knew the Law He choose to extend her grace. He points out the fact that everyone accusing her was also guilty of any number of sins and stupid decisions; making her feel human and not worthless.
But…His next move was to remind her to sin no more. That no one was left to accuse her and He wasn’t either. He speaks to what she “could” do and not what she’d done. BEAUTIFUL!!!! The last thing we need to hear when we’ve messed up is someone screaming we’ve messed up.
What we all need is someone to tell us not to beat ourselves up because we all do stupid crap. We need to hear that we can do better, be better and are better. Just because we’ve made a mistake that mistake doesn’t define us. It doesn’t speak of “who” we are just “what” we’ve done.
There is always a “why” behind a “what”. We sometimes act out of our own pain and dysfunction. That isn’t an excuse to sin but a reason we do. That does not make us bad people. What is this thing in us that wants to pass judgment, pointing our boney finger at others for doing it wrong. I mean it’s not like any of us are perfect people. It’s pride pure and simple. Humility looks at the mistakes of another and gives grace realizing we are totally capable of the same mistake if not for the grace of God.
Abram and Sari didn’t do anything wrong but when they were infertile, God didn’t show up and say, “Yep you can’t have babies.” NO!!! He changed Abrams name to Abraham meaning a father of many nations, the exact thing he wasn’t in that moment. God calls out of us what we can be, shows us the possibilities for our future.
Jesus did the same thing with Peter. He tells Peter, “You will deny me three times before the cock crows.” Peter didn’t believe he could do such a thing. But he did. After Jesus rose from the dead He tells Mary to go tell the disciples and PETER He had risen. He was telling Peter hey I knew you’d mess up but come on let’s get back in the game.
It’s really time for all of us to begin to show some grace to people who mess up, who hurt us, and who don’t deserve mercy. Because who does deserve mercy? Have any of us lived perfect lives? Ummm no. People need love, encouragement and sometimes someone who can see our potential and not just our mistakes. Isn’t that what we all need?