There was a time in my early Christian walk when I found myself irritated at the pastor where I went to church. My husband and I were young in the Lord and far from the most congenial people in the congregation. In my anger at something he said, I stood up defiantly during his sermon and walked out the church doors, never intending to return.
For several days, the Lord left me alone. Wounded and hurt, I felt justified. But then, slowly and surely, with a gentleness I had never known, the Lord began to tug on my heart. He wanted me to go back and apologize to the pastor. I swallowed my pride and obeyed. To this day, even though we live hundreds of miles apart, he and his family are dear friends.
What if I had not obeyed? What if I had said, “He was wrong and I am not apologizing!” Or, what if I had said, “No, Lord, too many people saw me act like a three-year-old that day! I am not going to ever show my face in that church.”
Our pride is often the very obstacle that keeps us from moving forward when we stumble in our spiritual walk. We forget that we are in a race to the finish and that there will be times along the way when we falter, often tripping over our own feet. But God knows our flesh and His grace is sufficient, if we will only repent and receive what He so freely gives.
“Every person makes mistakes. No one is perfect.” We hear those words, and they even make sense to us intellectually, and yet, when it comes to our spiritual lives, many of us impose a zero tolerance on ourselves. When we err or stumble, our first reaction is often to disappear from the church and run from God.
The story of Kristi Yamaguchi is a great example of how to pick ourselves up and keep going when we make mistakes. In 1992, when she was an Olympic hopeful and needed to perform her best, she made a dreadful blunder. She missed her jump.
While millions of television viewers watched and a stadium full of people groaned in disappointment, she quickly maneuvered about the ice until she regained her balance. But there was no undoing what had just happened. All she could do now was quit or keep going.
Many of us would have crumbled at that point. We would have skated off into the shadows and disappeared—feeling hopeless and full of self-loathing. But not Kristi. With the heart of a true warrior, Kristi kept skating. She poured her heart into the remainder of her routine and received strong enough scores by the time she finished to take the Olympic gold medal! It was amazing!
Just think for a moment. If Kristi had allowed a mistake to keep her down or cause her to give up, the outcome would have been totally different that day. She is a great example of how to finish with excellence.
We all make mistakes, we all embarrass ourselves, and we all do things we regret. While the Lord’s grace is never an excuse to sin, it is more than enough to cover us when we do.
Let Paul’s words be that of every woman warrior: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)
You are a child of God and serve a mighty King. If you have fallen or stumbled in your Christian walk, it is time to regain your balance and keep skating! Take His hand and let Him lift you up. There is much to do and the time is short. A reward far greater than gold awaits!
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