Saturday, July 01, 2006

Mistakes and Regrets

The girls in my youth group were horrified when they learned of the dress code for our upcoming missions trip. No tank tops. No sleeveless shirts. No short shorts. Their horror grew when they learned they were not allowed to bring blow dryers or straighteners. After listening to about five minutes of, “But Pastor Amanda, I’m gonna die. Seriously I’m gonna die,” I finally spoke.

“Look, these are not our rules, they’re the company’s rules. We can’t change them. So you have a choice. You can either follow the rules and complain, or you can follow the rules and not complain. I’d prefer latter.”

I must confess, I was rather proud of my reasoning skills in that moment. And I was relieved when they got on board with my proposal.

Two days ago I made a mistake. In the middle of a serious crisis I said the wrong thing and alienated the very person I was supposed to be comforting. If I were to explain the situation to you, many of you would try to reassure me that my intentions were good and that the person on the receiving end of my thoughtless comment was simply too sensitive. Nevertheless, the fact remains that I messed up and may have relinquished my right to give counsel in this crisis situation.

Despite the fact that I’ve apologized, I’ve been experiencing serious regret all weekend. I’ve been berating myself and relentlessly wishing that I could go back in time. I even baked a batch of cookies that I’m planning on giving away as a bribe to get back in this person’s good graces. I’m racked with guilt. I even dreamt about the situation last night.

But I’m trying to look at this situation from a different angle. The way I see it I have a choice. I can either know that I screwed up and beat myself up over it. Or I can know that I screwed up and accept God’s grace, believing that I’m forgiven. I’m trying to do the latter but it’s a struggle. I know I’m forgiven, but it just doesn’t feel like it. Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

If God uses everything for good for those who love they will be molded into the image of His Son, (Romans 8:28-29) You can trust that God is going to use this situation for His glory. When you humbly approach this person you hurt with your words and apologize, I'm sure you will find God opening up the doors in this relationship that could not be opened otherwise. I've seen it happen more than once in my life.

A OT profesor in seminary told me his least favorite book was Joshua. Regardless, I find a very encouraging story in chapters 7-8. The Israelites had been unfaithful to God because of Achan's sin, and so when they went up to fight against Ai, they were defeated. Then they addressed the sin and repented, they went up to fight Ai again. This time Ai said, "they are running away as they did before" and fell into a trap. --what do I see in the story? When we repent, God even uses our mistakes to His glory. (the people of Ai would not have been so vulnerable to the trap had they not routed the Israelites in a battle before) How much more will He use our inintended failings for His glory when we give them to Him?

Marcia said...

I've found that forgiving myself is very like forgiving ongoing process. Just like when I forgive others, there are times when the old unforgiven/unforgiving feelings crop up again, and once again I have to make the conscious choice to forgive.

Christin said...

Oh Mandy, how many times have I done this?! I call it "speakaphobia," and the aftermath is: walking around groaning, flapping the arms, rolling the eyes, spouting verbal nonsense like "nononono" "lordielordielordie" and "whyohwhyohwhy?"
I'm with you my friend and to be totally honest, I still haven't gotten over some of my speakaphobia moments. Years later, I am still flapping my arms and groaning over a couple things!!
Truly, I'm sorry. Regret is NO fun. I have no wise answers, only an empathetic speakaphobia bone.

Dave Ward said...

I think receiving grace is really the hardest part of grace. We THINK it is easy to give grace. We assume we do it all the time. "I forgive you." But until we receive forgiveness we can't fully forgive...
...but where does that leave you and me self-beater-uppers?

Not sure.

Is it fear of rejection? That THEY won't forgive?
(then how about a simple apology?)
Is it self-loathing? I can't STAND it when I do that!
(then where does that come from?)
Is it pride? I think I CAN be perfect so when I am not...
(then maybe we should be grateful for the humiliating moment...someone wise once told me gratitude was the only solution to pride:) )
Does it reinforce some deep lie you believe about yourself? (then what is the truth?)

I don't know. Just thinking through my fingers.

Glad you let us hear what you are hurting through!

Will you let us know what you figure out?????????

dave w