“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” (Phil. 3:13-14 TLB)
Today, I logged in to work early to inquire about additional hours. If anyone was hoping to leave our online office early Friday afternoon, I was willing to take the rest of their shift. I typed into chat: “I can take your hours before or after my regular shift.”
Trouble was, I didn’t type the word “shift.” I didn’t simply leave out the “f.” I typed two asterisks between the “s” and the “t” which was much, much worse. I was mortified! How in the world had that happened? I know I had just put drops in my eyes and was typing fast, but how did I type that and not on purpose?
I immediately typed an apology into chat and another to my supervisor in a private message, but there was nothing I could do; my faux pas was permanently there for all to see.
If you think I’m making too much of it, you need to realize that my coworkers know I’m a born-again Christian. Some of us share prayer and Bible reading, and those people were in chat at the time. They know my character. But because unbelievers judge Christians by what they see, my Christian reputation, and the reputation of the gospel, had been made to look foolish.
What do you do when you make a mistake that leaves people disappointed in the person they thought they knew? Here’s what I did: I logged off, crawled into bed, and prayed. I apologized to God since He is the one who got me my job in the first place and has sustained it over the last four years. He is my employer, and I do my job accordingly. I owed Him my sincerest apologies. Then I prayed for my unbelieving coworkers who are watching every day, for the baby Christians on our team who struggle in their walk, and for the mature believers who have loved the Lord all their adult lives.
Within 30 minutes, I received a call from my supervisor confessing that she has typed the wrong letter, hit the wrong key, and failed to proofread it before hitting “send.” Then she asked if I was still available to take a shift.
When believers make an embarrassing faux pas in front of the world, it reflects on God, too. When we make mistakes, it proves our frailty, but because God is with us, He’s there for us, too, with His grace and forgiveness.
What past humiliation still makes you wince? No matter how big or small, take it to the Lord in prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being there to take my shame and my guilt. Help me to forget my mistakes and move forward. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Marilyn Buehrer is a Just Between Us guest writer and lives in Tucson, AR.