When you make a mistake, admit it. If you don’t, you only make matters worse. Ward Cleaver
We all make our share of mistakes. This includes unintended mistakes and those that might be labeled as premeditated, deceitful, dishonest or immoral. It should be easier to fess up to honest mistakes because we were not motivated by bad intentions or impure motives. There is nothing to hide. There are times when we give in to bad intention, temptation, and improper motive and do something we should not do. Such mistakes are more difficult to confess. The more unethical, underhanded or ill-intended, the more difficulty we are likely to have.
The more entangled our poor choices or actions, the more tempted we are to hide or cover up. No one likes to be embarrassed, ridiculed or criticized. The old adage that says one lie often leads to another teaches us the folly and foolishness of telling more lies to cover up a first lie. We can get so deep into lying that it becomes tougher and tougher to admit to what we have done. The wise and right thing to do is to stop our lies or our other ill-advised actions, admit to our mistakes, “fess up”, “come clean”, “eat humble pie”, and ask forgiveness. “Confession is good for the soul.”Anything less leads us deeper and deeper into more destructive behavior. We may suffer irrevocable damages for our bad actions. “Mess up and fess up” is the good and sound policy.
Kids learn the hard way the foolishness of telling lies to cover up lies. Many of us use our early childhood lessons to guide us daily. We are supposed to gain wisdom by learning from our mistakes. Whether guided by a moral conscience or not, it is foolish and unintelligent to do such incredibly dumb things such as lying. Our bad actions will eventually come back to bite us. We do not really overcome mistakes by trying to hide from them.
It is a strength of character to admit to mistakes, whether they were intended or otherwise, we should accept the consequences and do our best not to repeat the same mistake a second time. Not only is fessing up the right thing to do from a moral point of view, it is also the smart and intelligent thing to do. When we mess up, fessing up is nothing but “down home” basic common sense. It is also what our mothers would have wanted us to do?
Challenge: You are faced with decisions every day. You may be tempted to do things that are borderline or ill-advised. Sometimes you make mistakes, intended or otherwise. It is best to readily admit to your mistakes when they are made. Usually, sooner is better. Giving in to a temptation, to hide or cover up a mistake is likely to cause you future pain and misery. At some point it will come back to haunt and bite you. Mess up and fess up.
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. Isaiah 32:17
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Sometimes we slip and have difficulty doing the right thing. We give into temptation, selfishness or other bad reasoning and do the wrong thing. When this happens, we are at a crossroad, we can admit our wrong, come clean, and make amends or we can try to hide it, cover it up, or lie about it. Sometimes our conscience lacks sufficient strength to do this. God’s strength is there to boost our ability and enable us to do what is right.
Prayer: Help me to overcome my weak-willed ways and to have the moral strength to do what is right.