No one gets up in the morning and decides to ruin their lives. No one gets up in the morning and says, “Today, I’m going to mess my life up beyond all recognition.” No one says that.
But they do it every day.
Why? If I knew the answer to that one, I’d write the book and retire.
The funny thing is, when you talk to people who have made these kinds of mistakes, their choices made sense to them. Not only that, but they made those choices fully expecting a positive outcome.
When you hear of someone making a bone-headed decision, most of us smirk and wonder how anyone could be so stupid. Then, we shrug our shoulders and say the person is getting what they deserve.
Two things: first, no one gets what they deserve. It’s called grace. The story would be vastly different for all of us if we simply got what we deserved.
Second, given the right (or wrong) circumstances, you and I might make the same devastating decision. None of us know what we would do in certain situations unless we have lived through those moments.
So, we get the email or we read the text, and we see where our friend has messed up.
What do we do next?
First, we ask ourselves, “If it was me who messed up, how would I want my friend to reach out to me?”
Then, we make a call. We find them and sit with them. The one thing we don’t do is leave them alone. They’re embarrassed. They feel stupid. They may be facing life-changing consequences. They probably won’t call you. Call them.
You don’t have to give advice. You don’t have to fix it. Some things can’t be fixed. What you do have to do is just be there, and by being there remind them there’s still hope. The next few days, months, and years might be hard, but there’s still hope.
Most of our favorite Bible stories start with colossal blunders—Moses killed an Egyptian, King David had an affair, Peter denied Christ. All of these mistakes were life altering and yet, God in His mercy and power, changed the story from failure to redemption.
To write someone off doesn’t mean we give up on the person, but we’re actually giving up on the redemptive power of God. Sure, bad decisions have consequences. Some relationships can’t be fixed. Some deeds can’t be undone.
But that doesn’t mean it’s over. So, go to your friend. Sit there. Remind them, you don’t know how God will work or what He will do. You just know He doesn’t give up.
To err is human…doing something redemptive with our mess is simply a God thing.