“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.”: 1 John 1: 8
Bear with me for a second here. For the first time, I read this specific passage differently. The greek word for sin means, “missing the mark.” When we hear the word sin, usually we think of some big hitters like: hate, envy, adultery, murder, etc. But what about this?
Ever encounter someone that did something wrong, or made a mistake, but couldn’t own up to it? I’ve definitely been that person once or twice before in the past so I’m not even going to front like I’m squeaky clean over here.
There are plenty of reasons why it’s hard to fess up to our fudge-ups. For starters, there’s fear. There’s also a feeling of inadequacy. Maybe we’re nervous how the other person will respond or we’re plagued with thoughts like, we’re going to get “in trouble.” It could just be that we don’t want the other person to have the satisfaction of knowing they were right.
When I look back, most of the times when I argued my “right” opinion to the death to cover up what I did wrong, I find I just came off ridiculous, jerky and short-sided. Those who were more cultivated and experienced could see right through me, just like I can see through your window right now, as you read this. KIDDING!
Back to the matter at hand. If we claim we did nothing wrong and attempt to dust over our rubble, we are really only fooling ourselves… and… no one else. At the bottom of it all, we’re just living a lie or a bunch of little lies which culminate into a big lie.
The freeing thing is, once we own up to something we did wrong, on purpose or not, the results set you up on a much better path. I’m not saying that this is painless or that there won’t be consequences to your actions. But, I found just by owning your blunders:
- You humbly remember that you are human. Yay! Compliments to you. Our right shots should outweigh our wrongs, but it’s just a reality that we are going to get it wrong every so often. Our responsibility, after a mess up, is to do what is upright. Always strive to follow through with excellence, not perfection. Periodically, we need the little elbow into the side of our ribs to remind us we are not always going to get EVERYTHING right. It keeps us humble and, hopefully, more gracious towards others.
- You don’t know everything and that is alright. Pride prevents progress. The proudest are really the puniest on the inside. The sooner you own your side of the issue, hold on to your lesson learned and move forward. Keep going. Take that learning experience with you, so, the next time you encounter a similar situation, you won’t repeat your history.
- People respect your honesty. Genuine honesty is something that is few and far between. Most people don’t give anyone the benefit of the doubt anymore just because they’ve been burned by dishonest people. We don’t even trust we are getting the right deal on the phone with Verizon. “I know you are gypping me somewhere!” It is completely refreshing to just admit your fault in a mature way. On the flip side of that, mature people will always respect honesty over your paper-thin excuses.
- You build trust with others. What you see is what you get. People will know they can get an honest answer from you and, when you are an honest person, trust continues to build. Trust is another quality that is lost very easily. Construct trust with others and see what doors open for you in time.
- You develop a good reputation. Consistently doing the right thing lays the foundation for a good reputation. Favor follows the faithful, so remain faithful in the little and big things. Be known as someone with integrity and virtue.
- You uphold your integrity. Never forfeit your integrity. No trade is ever worth it, even if it gets you what you want immediately. The end result of that decision will only be temporary. Most likely, it will lead you to another situation that will beg you to forfeit your integrity one more time. Once you knock down one domino, it’s hard to keep the other ones from falling.
Confront whatever it is that wants to keep you foolish. Leaders do the tough stuff and that includes thundering through blunders.