God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
—1 Peter 5:5

In order to fess up to your mess-up, you must acknowledge your own responsibility for your failure. Even if the failure you have experienced is 99 percent the fault of somebody else and you are only 1 percent responsible, you need to acknowledge your 1 percent.

If we never admit our role in our failure, we can never learn from our failure. Admitting our failure also encourages other people to help us in our second act in life. For example, imagine two friends come to you on the same day asking for financial assistance. The first friend comes to you and says, “Hey, could you give me $500? I am in a financial mess. I don’t know what happened; I guess just bad luck.” The second friend comes to you and says, “Could you lend me $500? I made a mistake and got overextended on my credit card. I’ll never do it again. In fact, I cut up my credit card today.” Which person are you more likely to help out?

Most of us would be more likely to loan money to the friend who admits his mistake, humbles himself, and demonstrates actions that are consistent with repentance. It is the same way with other people. Other people will most likely help us in our second act in life if we are willing to admit our failure.

First Peter 5:5 says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” God resists those who are proud and refuse to acknowledge their failure, but He offers grace to those who acknowledge their failure. God often demonstrates His grace to us through other people who are open to helping us if we humble ourselves and admit our mistake.

You may wonder, “I know I’m supposed to confess my failure, but whom do I confess it to?” The answer depends on the nature of your failure. If your failure is something that hasn’t hurt another person and if it’s not an overt sin that violates God’s standard, then you just need to confess your failure to yourself. Maybe you just had a bad day or didn’t do as well at something as you had hoped. If that is the case, you need to forgive yourself and move on.

However, if we have wronged somebody else, then we need to ask that person’s forgiveness. That person may or may not choose to forgive you–that’s their responsibility. But whenever you ask somebody for forgiveness, it gives you a clear conscience. Paul said, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

A clear conscience is the knowledge that there is no one on earth who can accuse you of a wrong you have not attempted to make right. That’s why it’s so essential that we be able to have a clear conscience. That’s the value of asking for forgiveness.


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.

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