Why is it sometimes so hard to say “I was wrong?”
This past Sunday I got offended by what someone said to me. I overreacted and lashed out with harsh words. My fuming about the disrespect shown consumed me. All I could see was my own hurt. At first I was blind to how my negative reaction wounded the other person. Then I got busy justifying it.
Maybe my slowness to admit a wrong is because of “no mercy” people from my past which has led me to fear God will reject me—even though this has never been the case. How I long to completely get over my tendency to avoid admitting my own bad behavior. And it would be wonderful if I could refrain from the descent back into my habit of concentrating on how others aren’t doing the right thing—especially family members.
God has had to remind me again and again He doesn’t want me to search out or point out the faults of others. Instead He desires that I search out (with His help) my own shortcomings and deal with them. He requires me to be responsible for my responses—even if what others do or say hurts me.
This prayer from Scripture reminds me of the importance of putting God’s searchlight on my heart regularly:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
The more I’m willing to embrace this, the more free I will be. The sooner I let God show me what’s wrong in my soul and confess it, the less time I spend in fussing and fretting and fractured relationships. As the old saying goes, “Confession is good for the soul.”
Psalm 32 shows the benefit of being quick to confess:
Blessed, (HAPPY, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered….When I kept silence [before I confessed] my bones wasted away… For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me… I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide, I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord [continually unfolding the past until all is told]—then You [instantly] forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin… Verses 1, 3-5 AMP
The gift of God’s forgiveness is wonderful —both when it’s given to me and when I extend it to others.
My new goal is: Instead of just saying “I was wrong,” learn to say “I am wrong”—to admit wrongdoing at the moment I’m doing it.
This past Sunday a better way to handle the situation would have been as I was giving a wrong response to say, “I’m sorry I’m overreacting to what you just said. I’m wrong to do that.” Then I could have added, “Let’s talk about what’s bothering you.”
Lord, help me to always be ready and willing to admit when I’m wrong. Thank You for showing me that when I do, this keeps me close to those I love and to You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
How about you? Are you slow to admit when you’ve done something wrong? Do you tend to deny, justify, or minimize your bad behavior? Ask God to help you be quick to confess sin to Him and to the people around you. It will make a big difference in your life.