Recently on Facebook, a friend posted the following comment: “I wish life had an “undo” button.
I’m betting Tiger Woods and Jesse James are wishing the same thing, too. And Ann Curry and Jim Joyce are probably experiencing that “want to get away?” feeling after their recent public errors.
Ann Curry gave the commencement address at Wheaton College. At one point, she listed a few of the school’s more well-known alumni – only thing is, that the people she named graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois, and she was speaking at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
Jim Joyce was the umpire who ruined a perfect game for Detroit’s Armando Galarraga. With two outs in the 9th inning, he ruled the Cleveland Indians player, Jason Donald safe on a close play at first base.
While most people think Tiger Woods and Jesse James were just plain stupid, Ann Curry’s gaffe, while preventable, was an unintentional mistake.
But Jim Joyce – now here was someone who thought at that moment in time, that he was doing the right thing. Only upon seeing the replay, did he see that he really did miss the call. He later apologized to Galarraga. And Galarraga graciously said, “He probably felt more bad than me. Nobody’s perfect.”
Aren’t you glad that most of our mistakes aren’t so public as the above examples? But does that make them any less serious?
Looking through my study Bible in the concordance section, I did not find the words “apology” or “mistake” or “sorry.” And there weren’t really that many references to the word “repent.” There were, however, many references under the word “sin.”
But one reference, under the word “sorrow (ful),” caught my eye.
2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.” The corresponding explanation given was “sorrow for our sins can result in changed behavior. Many people are sorry only for the effects of their sins or for being caught (sorrow without repentance). Compare Peter’s remorse and repentance with Judas’s bitterness and act of suicide. Both denied Christ. One repented and was restored to faith and service; the other took his own life.”
The explanation of verse 11 went on to ask if we get defensive when we are confronted with our mistakes? Do we let our pride keep us from admitting our mistakes? Do we accept “correction as a tool for our growth and do all we can to correct problems that are pointed out to us?” For myself, I would have to say “Yes, Yes and maybe.”
The big joke in our house is that if I say “I’m sorry” or “you’re right,” my husband will stop dead in his tracks and look at me with exaggerated surprise. Then he will ask me to repeat myself. Funny guy. But saying the words, “I’m sorry,” isn’t always enough. It’s the changed behavior that hopefully takes place that’s the “biggie.” I think it was in Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages, that pointed out some people are more “action” than “hearing.” Basically, that there are some people who need to hear the words, “I love you” or “I’m sorry,” and there are those of us who need to “see” those words in action.
As I stated above, the references for “repent,” “sorry,” “apology,” and “mistake” are few. But did you know that there are a multitude of references for “grace,” “forgiveness” and “mercy?”
God says “I am the Lord, I am the Lord, the merciful and gracious God. I am slow to anger and rich in unfailing love and faithfulness. I show this unfailing love to many thousands by forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion.” (Exodus 34:6)
We need to acknowledge our mistakes, ask for forgiveness and change our behavior … all because of that “unfailing love.”