It is such an embarrassing thing to fall, isn’t it? . .
The last time I fell, it was painful! I was working out at the gym with my oldest daughter, Lindsey. We were warming up by walking on treadmills. It was funny, because we’re a bit competitive at the gym, and we each kept bumping up our speed to be faster than the other. A bank of TV screens was on the wall in front of us, and as we walked, I noticed a woman on a news station with a hairstyle I really liked. So I turned to Lindsey, who is a gifted stylist, and pointed to the woman. We started talking about her cutting my hair the same way. I got so excited about the new hair style that I stopped walking to emphasize the length I wanted my hair cut. Stopping, while on a treadmill going four miles an hour, is not a good idea! The bruises and scrapes on my right leg prove it.
That was a public failure, and a humiliating one! Believe me, the same thing happens to me in other aspects of my life. It can happen to us spiritually. It’s one thing when our fall is in private, but another when it’s public. I wish I could tell you it never happens, but it does. What do we do about it?
The worst thing we can do is try to cover it up. We look foolish and demean the Savior we follow when we don’t own up to our mistakes. 1 John 1:9 tells that we need to confess our sin and that God is faithful to cleanse us. If our failure was private, then we are done. But for those public sins, we need to make a public admission of our guilt. It is hard to admit doing wrong. However, saying we acted in a manner that does not line up with who we are in Christ frees us from the chains of guilt. It opens the door for us to make amends to those we’ve injured. When we respond to failure with humility, others often respond with grace and mercy.
There are examples in Scripture of those who fell into sin and tried to hide it, like Ananias and Sapphira. Their attempt to cover up public sin ended up costing them their lives. That tells me God considers my response to my sin a serious thing.
Scripture is clear that every one of us battles sin and there will be times we fall in that battle. When we do, it is best to remind ourselves that because of Jesus Christ, there is a way back -and take it!