I have kids who have been known from time to time to spill glasses of milk. While I never want them to spill their glasses, I accept it as a part of life. That’s why I don’t have carpet in our kitchen and I own a mop. When the kids spill their milk, we get out the mop & bucket and we clean it up. After a little time to air dry, the floor is good as new.
But what if we didn’t mop it up? The mess would get sticky, hairy, moldy. The next glass would fall on top of the remains from the last, adding to the previous mess and shards of glass. If this continued it wouldn’t take very long before the kitchen was uninhabitable.
Sometimes I blow it. I try to always show up well for my King – but I don’t. Fortunately, failure is typically not terminal. With our King, as in our other relationships, we can clean up our messes.
Relationally speaking we have a four (4) part mop & bucket we can use to clean up our messes.
- Confession – Agreeing with the truth, that’s confession. When we blow it, we own it. “I did that.”
- Repentance – Confession is great, but if I confess to stealing from you…and that I plan to continue doing so…that probably won’t go over too well. Repentance says not only “I did it,” but also, “I acknowledge it’s not OK and I intend with God’s help to not do it anymore.”
- Restitution – “I stole your camera. I promise never to steal again. But, I think I’ll keep your camera, cause I really like it,” is not a product of true repentance. Restitution is a fruit of repentance, along with changed behavior. If I’ve stolen or defrauded you in some way, I need to restore that to you (e.g. return your camera, take you on another date since I blew the last date with my bad attitude, ect). Sometimes you cannot make restitution; you can’t unsay or undo something hurtful. But, when it applies, make sure you do it.
- Ask for Forgiveness – “I blew it. With God’s help I’m not going to keep blowing it like that. I’ll make it up to you if I can. Will you forgive me?” Don’t forget to ask for forgiveness, it’s important!
Failures don’t have to be terminal or cumulative in our relationships. We can keep our relationships clean, without unresolved issues and resentments, if we’ll get humble fast, pull out our mop & bucket and clean it up!