I Blew It!

Written several days ago

Tonight my cell phone buzzed with a call from one of my closest friends who is a business manager. He needed to share something with me about an ongoing situation. Recently, he called and shared about learning that a key individual, someone he trusted very much, had betrayed that relationship. Today he learned more details about her behavior– things that hadn’t been revealed before – and he needed to tell me.

I’ve also had conversations with the individual involved and she is humiliated, embarrassed, hurting. She, too, has asked me to listen. I’ve been praying and hoping that somehow, God would make sense of this mess and everybody would be drawn closer to Him; to live out what Paul describes in Philippians 2:3, “ . . . in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

What I heard tonight caused my emotions to boil over in frustration because I wanted to force the Word of God into a situation instead of modeling it. I’m ashamed to admit what happened next.

When the phone call ended I vented my frustration out loud to my living room walls using angry words and exaggeration and a harsh tone of voice. And I got caught.

I failed to disconnect the call.

My dear brother heard every word. He called back to tell me how hurt he was and then hung up.

Filled with shame and regret, but still frustrated, I called him back and begged his forgiveness. I made excuses and capitalized on our friendship. He graciously forgave me even though I really don’t deserve it. (According to Phil 2:3, who is the better man?)

Some of our obvious reactions might be:

· Don’t say anything out loud that you wouldn’t say to the person’s face.

· Make sure the cell phone is off.

· What happens in Vegas never stays in Vegas but follows you home.

· Take advantage of friends who have made themselves available to listen when you need to vent. (I received just such an offer from a fellow pastor about three hours before this event.)

. . . and I’m sure we could think of others.

But that’s not what God was saying to me when I went to bed and it’s certainly not what drove me to my keyboard well after midnight to write this. (It’s 12:42 am right now.)

The lesson God drove home like a dagger in my gut is found in verses I’ve quoted to scores of people and used in my own life for 30 years:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:6-10 (NIV)

Yes, there is a lot going on in my life right now:

· Lois is not getting better and probably won’t this side of Heaven.

· Pastors and churches are dealing with more disastrous conflict than at any other time since I started my job almost 43 months ago.

· We’re aware of many special people who have just found out they are facing life-threatening illness and disease.

· I’ve just completed the six most intense weeks I can ever remember.

· The projects on my “to-do list” are daunting.

Instead of taking out all the frustration and exhaustion on someone else, I need to be humble, self-controlled and alert. In my pride and self-sufficiency I think I can handle everything. I can’t. Deep down I know that I’ll just mess up and must turn to God and allow Him to work through the support group around me. I have to remember the evil one is always ready to pounce on my weakness therefore I must resist and stand firm in the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will lift me up in His time. God will pour out grace. (It’s not up to me!)

So, once again, I have to admit I blew it and renew my commitment with God to let Him be God.

Where are you? Have you been trying to regain control? Is God speaking to you about surrender, commitment, humility? Are you ready to let God be God in your life?

I’ve taken a risk sharing this and would really appreciate your responses. I won’t post any comments you mark confidential.

9 thoughts on “I Blew It!”

  1. Jim, No one does right all the time. We are human & satan uses that whenever he can. Don’t let it get you down. You have much on your plate right now & what you did is understandable. By apologizing & going to God’s Word you have made things right in your life again. I will pray with you for strength & wisdom in dealing with what comes your way. May God bless you in the coming days ahead. I care. Sherry

  2. Yes, of course I have issues that I need to surrender to God and stop trying to control myself — I need to maintain self-control in an area as well. There is matter in my life that has taken over and I am afraid I am not handling it well. I pray for God’s help, and then turn around and mess up again. Please pray for me!

  3. Jim: You did the right thing , We are all human 1st.John 2: 1 & 2
    tells us that we have an advocate with the Father. Hang in there.

    Your friend in Christ
    Rev. V.W.Reed

  4. The beauty of life in Christ is that we are offered forgiveness. Not that messing up is good or fun, but there’s something about being humbled that allows us to see God for who he is and us for who we are. We can do nothing without him. . . nothing.

  5. I’ve been there and understand. The tongue expressing what is in the heart can get us into trouble. But you are right. Humble contrition is a necessary part of our human experience and Christian character development. Hopefully, as we face similar situations this experience will aid in handling those better. Praying!

  6. Jim & Lois, I pray for you and all our leaders every day and know you are carrying a huge load. I have a quote in my pocket calendar that one of our young ministers shared in a sermon. I got it out and reread it yesterday. It reads, “Our job is to be faithful, and God’s job is to make things happen. We get into trouble when we switch that around.”
    God is forgiving and faithful! Love & Prayers, Marilyn

  7. Been there, done that. Oh how I wish I could withdraw statements I’ve made that have hurt people that I really love. Pressures and distractions take a bigger toll on our lives than we sometimes realize. You have much on your plate. The circumstances that you and Lois are facing are known by only some at the level you are experiencing them. I’m not offering an excuse but what I’m saying is that there are none of us out here worthy of throwing stones. Who is there among us that hasn’t done worse? I really appreciate your willingness to share this experience. It reminds me that I cannot allow Satan to gain a foothold in my life because I’m frustrated with the circumstances that people bring into their lives unnecessarily. I too must realize that I’m a sinner in need of a Savior like Jesus. May we all have the courage to face the battles we each must fight and continue to model the love that Jesus has for all of us.

  8. Jim, I pray for you and Lois daily and I know that god is listening. We also know that we are human and make mistakes, but as long as we recognize those mistakes and pray for forgiveness, God will forgive us. Thank goodness God is a forgiving God and he is willing to help us in our time of need. No matter what Job had to face, he would not give up his faith in God. God bless you and I truly appreciated your help in my situation and I know God will give you the strength to face the future.

  9. Jimm, Thank for your being open an honest. I find that my frustrations come from my sefishness. I want what I want, I want people to get it right or I want to do somethings elese at the time. When I am being selfish I find myself sinnig against God to get what I want or I sin against becaue I don’t get what I want. Jim thank again for putting yourself out there, you are a real blessing.

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