For When You Make That Big Mistake

Margaret —  July 11, 2013 — 15 Comments

This Fourth of July, Don’t Forget Whose You Are

Recently I was invited to a gathering of three dozen religious leaders where we dove into to the hottest and most controversial topics in the church. To be honest, I didn’t say a word. It was one of the conversations where I didn’t think anything I said would have moved the conversation forward.

I sat in silence.

A far less controversial question surfaced in the midst of the debate, “What is the core message of all that you write and teach?” [Tweet this]

And as people shared, I realized that my core message was different than everyone else in the room. I had that sneaking suspicion that, “One of these things is not like the other.”

For more than an hour people shared, and I, I sat in silence. Eventually we were dismissed.

And as I look back on that experience, I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t I speak up?”

It’s not like what I do is a secret to myself or anyone else in that room. It’s not like anyone can’t go to my website, check out Facebook or Twitter, read one of my books and not be able to figure out quickly what I am about.

What is the core message of all that I write and teach? To introduce people to the beauty and wonder of God and Scripture. Yet in that room, on that day, I didn’t say a word.

Why?

Fear.

Fear of being different. Fear of being rejected. Fear of being thought of as old school or simple-minded. Fear of simply being myself.

The truth is that when I engage with people who are different than me, I learn new things—not just about others but also about myself. That day I discovered that I’m not as brave as I thought I was.

Of all of the disciples, the one who faced this reality the most notably is Peter.

But Peter’s denial of Jesus did not define him, it refined him.

We will all have circumstances and situations when we will look back and think: I wish I had handled things differently. I wish I had been more honest. I wish I would have been more courageous. I wish I had been the one to speak up.

I can’t go back and make things happen in a different way than they did in that room with those religious leaders that day. But I can go forward. I know I’ll have many more opportunities not only to share but live out my faith.

The question in our faith journey is not when will we make mistakes, but how we respond after we make them. [Tweet this]

For When You Make That Big Mistake

May we remember that whatever we’ve done or left undone is never beyond God’s redemption or restoration. And that the work he is doing in our lives is beautiful.

This week we dove into John 18-19.  You can catch up on this week, here.

FOR DISCUSSION: Answer the following questions as a comment to this blog post. Feel free to ask questions, reply to others’ comments, and post prayer requests.

  • John’s portrait of Jesus’ death suggests that Jesus is in control from beginning to end. Jesus is not being forced to die; he is choosing to give up his life. On a scale of one to ten, how often do you forget that God is in complete control?

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15 responses to For When You Make That Big Mistake

  1. I loved reading this post Margaret. I believe that when we are honest with others, even when we think we might have failed in some area, we only open ourselves up as totally “human” and more easily relatable when we are sharing the message of God and Jesus. What you said in that “whatever we’ve done or left undone isn’t beyond God’s redemption or restoration” is so true. Whether we think we’ve failed in a moment is actually THE moment God allows us to blaringly realize something important about ourselves and the situation we are in, and it is a good & necessary experience for our continued walk with Him. And I think when we share our vulnerabilities, those moments, it allows others to know the true love and support our God daily gives us, in the redemption & restoration we come to realize as a result of that moment. Thank you for sharing that “moment” in your life. We all feel better knowing we are not traveling that path alone. :) We all have a story we could share.

    • You’re so right, Lori. Even when it hurts to admit when you’re wrong, the transformation that takes place when you humble yourself to do so is powerful!

      Your comment brought up such an interesting point– the idea that God can use even our mistakes and mishaps to display his glory. His power is made perfect in our weakness. So let’s boast all the more in our weaknesses!

    • Didn’t see a “like” button. But I do. Good comment Lori.

  2. Thank you Margaret for your honesty.I have found sometimes when in a group sharing can difficult because of fear.Fear of looking stupid,not able to have a voice for fear of rejection,not being able to communicate a thought.God knows my struggles in this area and He is faithful to deliver me through all my fears of life.I love Him even more for all that He is teaching me through my fears.
    Your truly a blessing.

    • Cheryl, praying for you as you step out in faith! May God continue to remind you what a powerful tool you are for his kingdom each day. Hug to you!

  3. I have been doing a lot of research on fear and the many tiny webs it weaves in our lives. Needless to say I could so relate to your being quiet. Although, in my life I tend to be more like Peter and engage mouth before I should? As always I admire your honesty and transparency. It is nice to know I am not the only one who is often fearful or intimidated by those I perceive know more than I. This happens often when my view is different then those I admire. Thanks for sharing, I very much appreciate you!

    • You touch on something so important, Sandra. There is a thin line between needing to be bold and hold your tongue. May God give us the wisdom to grow further in discernment as we continue pursuing him!

  4. This blessed me so much…:)
    I love your quote
    “…it did not define him, it refined him”
    That is such a beautiful perspective to me.
    Thank you or posting this today. :)

  5. Loved this post, Margaret, for three reasons. 1) It reminded me that I don’t speak up as often as I’d like out of fear of judgment. 2) The core message of my own writing is a unique gift from the Holy Spirit, as is yours, and wants to be shared. and 3) God has a lesson for us in every circumstance, whether in triumph or defeat; we only need to seek it, embrace it and obey it. Thank you for your unique voice heard above the clutter.

  6. Love your honesty in this post Margaret. I can relate. I have found myself in this same place before, when what I had to say wasn’t really going to contribute that much to the conversation, especially in a room full of people where I know I’m the odd man out. And sometimes, I think silence speaks louder than words. It’s the person who doesn’t have to defend himself, or be a loud voice in the discussion that I often seek out. There are often riches in that reservoir waiting to be tapped.I probably would’ve asked you out to lunch afterward. :)

    • You’re the sweetest, Shelly! Now to grow in the discernment when to speak up and when to hold my tongue. Hug to you, friend!

  7. Oh yeah….THIS place. I am learning to be grateful for the work of the Spirit that continues to work in and on me beyond these moments, know what I mean? It’s seeming more and more that these encounters tend to be more about sculpting and shaping that “warrior” within so that when God gives us that “do-over” we’re determined–worked for Peter too! Bless you Margaret.

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