You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.
—Genesis 50:20

So far this week we have looked at the benefits of fessing up to our mess-up when we make a mistake. But how do we go about doing it?

First, determine if in fact you’ve really failed. Sometimes our judgment about failure is accurate because it’s based on God’s Word, but sometimes what we label as a failure is not really a failure at all. Before you label something a failure, ask yourself a couple of important questions.

  1. By what standard am I judging this event to be a failure?” Is it God’s Word or is it an unrealistic standard I’ve set for myself?
  2. Am I making this judgment prematurely?” Am I labeling this part of my life a failure too soon?

This is an important lesson for all of us: don’t make judgments prematurely. Just because your children are rebelling against you and God today doesn’t mean they will always rebel against you and God. Just because you didn’t receive a promotion at your job this year doesn’t mean you won’t receive it next year. Make sure you’re not making your judgment prematurely.

If we are going to learn from our mistakes, we also have to acknowledge the role other people played in our failure. This is counterintuitive, because we think the Christian thing to do is to ignore it and sweep it under the rug. But if we’re going to have a second act in life, we must admit the role others may have played in our failure. Why is that? Because failing to acknowledge how others have failed us may cause us to fall into the same trap again. We must be willing to admit the role other people play in our failure so we don’t repeat the same mistake.

Failing to acknowledge the role other people play in our failure also keeps us from being able to forgive them. One of the most important ingredients for moving on to the second act in your life is experiencing the freedom that comes from forgiveness. And you can only forgive people you are first willing to blame.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean sweeping your hurt under the rug or denying that somebody has wronged you. Forgiveness means acknowledging that somebody has wronged you but then letting go of your right to hurt them for hurting you.

Remember what Joseph said to his brothers? “You meant evil against me” (Genesis 50:20). He did not sweep his brothers’ offense under the rug. But he went on to say, “But God meant it for good.” Joseph let go of his right to hurt his brothers for hurting him.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Fess Up to Your Mess-Up” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2016.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.