You really blew it. My inner diatribe kept poking at the stained place in my soul. Your words may have hurt more than helped. Others may hear about how hurtful your words were. And you want God to increase your speaking ministry? How can God use the likes of you?
Unfortunately I deal with this type of inner monologue more often than I want to admit. And blog posts that elucidate the reasons folks are leaving the church add fuel to my doubts.
Am I actually pushing people away from God? Father may it never be…
It would be easier to just close down shop. Take my ministry down, fold up my tent, and call myself a failure, unfit, unworthy.
But the truth is that God used people just like me, people who made mistakes, people who blow it big time, people who may say or do things that may not make the church look “good.”
So how do we keep on serving when we have royally messed up?
Confess your mistake. James 5:16 This can be difficult if you are like me and you really don’t like to be wrong…ever. Often you just need to admit to the person you wronged that you messed up. However there are times you need to confess to a larger group of people. Be prepared to admit to this mistake to as many people as you wronged. Don’t think you have to tell every person you walk past.
Ask for forgiveness. Just saying I was wrong really isn’t enough. Asking for forgiveness shows that you know you hurt someone else and you truly care about how your actions affected that person you wronged. Do not forget to ask God to forgive you as well and ask for His help to do better in the future. Check out this article about the power of apology.
Make restitution. Numbers 5:5-7 Tell the person or people you wronged how you will do better in the future. If you owe a debt of money or something else, make sure you pay that debt as soon as you are able. Perhaps you have spread gossip and you need to spread truth and life. Being open about what you are going to do to correct the wrong helps the person you hurt understand you are not taking what you did lightly.
Serve in Humility. Ephesians 4:1-3 God uses sinful people to do His work because there are no other kinds of people. While we need not wear our sins as a badge of honor, we must love and serve others in humility. By allowing God’s forgiveness to result in an avalanche of gratitude in our souls, service can no longer be done in pride. Instead that avalanche of gratitude sweeps us up into joyful service of the God who takes broken things and makes them useful in His kingdom’s work.
How do you handle serving God after you have blown it?