Dealing with Mistakes

I was invited to speak at a retreat this weekend. The retreat is for graduating ministry majors from Trinity International University. The topic: what you need to know as you transition into full time vocational ministry. It’s such an honor to be asked to speak and I’m excited about the opportunity to share from my experience.

One of the things I will be sharing is about dealing with mistakes. We all make mistakes…whether it’s in our professional life, our daily family life, or in our friendships, we can count on making mistakes. I believe the key to dealing with mistakes is how you respond. Proverbs 28:13 says ““He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy”. There’s some great wisdom here!

Consider the following negative response to making a mistake:

- Lie about it. While most of us would agree that lying is bad, what about those times when we know we could get away with it?

- Make excuses. Shift the blame, point the finger at someone else rather than taking responsibility for your mistake.

These ways of “concealing” a mistake lead to all sorts of problems. Lying erodes trust…even little lies! Making excuses may get you off the hook, but it sends the message that you lack personal responsibility.

Now, Consider the following positive response to making a mistake:

- Fess up quickly. Instead of trying to cover it up, or waiting to be found out, deal with it head on.

- Humbly accept responsibility. Instead of trying to get off the hook, take the necessary steps to fix the situation.

These ways of responding to the mistake lead to resolution and restored relationships. Dealing with it head on and taking responsibility demonstrate true character. Doing so sends the message that we care about the fact that we’ve made a mistake and how it impacts others. There may be a storm to weather, but it will likely be better than if we tried to conceal it and got caught. In my experience dealing with mistakes in these positive ways builds trust and endears you to others. You never lose when you apologize!