Whether you know me or not, I’m confident you are not shocked by my admission that I’m not perfect. And I hope you are not shocked by my suggestion that neither are you. The reality is that we all are flawed and make mistakes. I’m fairly positive every person would agree that he or she is not perfect.
The fact that we know we are not perfect should result in some sense of humility. And humility is expressed when we acknowledge to others we are imperfect. I think what we need to guard against when we admit we were wrong is making excuses. No one wants to hear an admission and apology followed by a reason why we did or said something we shouldn’t have. Most of the time when someone admits a mistake, but gives an excuse for it, they are not taking responsibility for their misdeed.
Rather than defending ourselves with an excuse when we have shown we are imperfect, humility should lead us to an apology and probably a statement of intention to do better in the future.
Humility leads us to confess our shortcoming, apologize for it, resolve to do better in the future, and possibly ask for forgiveness if it is appropriate. Generally speaking I think it is best to take these steps as soon as possible. However, sometimes we aren’t convicted about our mess up at the time, but come to the realization later. Humility is needed to apologize and seek forgiveness hours, days, or weeks later.
So far I’ve been writing about our not being perfect, but another expression of humility is our acceptance of the imperfections of others. In the same way we are encouraged when others accept us and our apologies for mistakes, we too can encourage others by accepting them along with their weaknesses and failures. (That does not mean, however, that we have put ourselves in the position to be hurt again and again by someone.)
I’m a person who has said and done things and acted in ways I should not have more times than I can remember. There have been times when it took longer than it should have for me to admit my wrong, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. I’ve never regretted taking those steps, but I do regret the times I didn’t.
I’m not perfect – and neither are you. Even though most people will accept our apologies for our failures, and God will forgive us if we repent and ask Him for it; let’s not use the reality of our not being perfect to give us cover to do and say things we should not. Let’s keep growing and doing better as we accept and welcome the love and grace of our Heavenly Father and as we walk with his son — our Savior and Lord Jesus.
Here’s a final suggestion to think about: forgive yourself.
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photo credit: Chronic Joy Ministry <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/148283563@N04/33195680906″>CJUnspeakableJoy</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>(license)</a>
WHAT??? I’m not perfect??? It’s gonna take me awhile to get over that reality check… J