This was about 10 years ago now, but I vividly remember the day I made a $20,000 mistake in my husband’s business account. It seems like he has forgotten it. He has never brought it up; neither have-I until now (why not put it on the internet, right?). There are not many relationships where I feel confident that my errors are forgotten, this is one of the reasons there is no one in this world I love more than my man. I am confident that his forgiveness is not partial or conditional-that day so long ago proved it. That’s why I will never forget it.
I don’t know how long it took me to tell Ronny about my bookkeeping error, but I do know it felt like forever. I remember feeling a horrible pit in my stomach that nothing could shake. I tried denying it, ignoring it, covering it up but nothing worked. Twenty grand doesn’t just reappear and I could not fake that the money was there for long. When I finally got up the guts to tell him, my gracious husband took a few moments to calm himself down and then told me one of his favorite phrases “IOM” (it’s only money) “I’ll just have to work even harder.” End of story.
Sometimes even simple mistakes cost a lot. For me the main expense in that mistake was my pride and the time I lost with my man while he worked many extra hours. The thing my mistake cost Ronny was a lot of time and hard work. But what we gained from that experience is priceless. Nothing has made me feel more loved in my life than knowing that even though I was totally wrong, my man valued me more than his business, his reputation or his time and money. He allowed me to be a fool without treating me like one. He paid the price for my foolishness and he never placed guilt or shame on me for it.
Before I confessed what I did to him I had plenty of guilt and shame, though, which is why I share this story with you. I know I am not alone. Surely I am not the first person to make a huge and costly mistake. I can say for certain the twenty grand was not my first nor my last foolish error, it’s just that the repercussions of that one had to be dealt with quickly because checks were being written against the money that was lost. Sometimes mistakes take a little longer to come to the surface while we frantically try to hide, ignore, give away the guilt and shame they cause us. It just seems to me that as 2013 comes to an end, perhaps its time for all of us to come clean with the things that are giving us that horrible pit in our stomach.
Let’s start 2014 with the freedom that forgiveness brings.
Maybe the one you have hurt is not as gracious as my man. Can I challenge you to come clean anyway? Any offense that we give to one of God’s children is an offense to Him. First ask Him to forgive you and then ask Him for help seek forgiveness from the offended. If you presume their response will only be condemning or condescending, do it anyway. Do it for your Savior.
Maybe that person (or someone else) has hurt you, too. Forgive them whether they deserve it or not. You are not accountable for what they do, only for how you respond to what they do. Choose to do right no matter how wrong you are treated. I promise, this attitude may not be easy, but if you will let go of your offenses you will be free indeed. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jesus, Please forgive me for my mistakes. I know that you paid the price for my sins and I thank you that I don’t need to suffer guilt or shame anymore. I confess my ways to you right now and ask for your forgiveness. Please help me to forgive those who have hurt me, especially, I want to start this new year off with a clean slate. Would you help me to make the relationships in my life right, even if the other people continue to treat me wrong. Amen
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com
If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.