Do you ever have those moments where your heart is in the right place ... but your brain isn't? You're trying to do the right thing, but for a fleeting moment you don't think it through, and then everything falls apart? I hate those moments.
And I've had at least two in about a week and a half.
They make me feel stupid.
I panic at the thought that I can't undo my choice.
And then I pray.
I appeal to the Lord on the basis of my heart's intent. He knows better than anyone that my intentions were pure. Not that my motives can make a wrong action right--ends do not justify means. But I merely say something like, "Lord, you know my heart. You know that I didn't mean to do anything wrong." I take comfort in the fact that my Father sees my heart when no one else does in these times. Even if others could accuse or blame, He will never have a reason to doubt my desire to do right.
And then I apologize. Just because what I did was unintentional does not negate any foolish or sinful qualities it could have carried. So I ask for His forgiveness for the ways I have misstepped.
While I know that these steps put these mistakes in my past--as far as the east is from the west--I am still left with a nagging question. How do I cope mentally and emotionally with my own frailty and error? And how do I avoid making similar mistakes in the future?
As to coping--I would say the main thing I'm choosing to focus on is humility. I am human. I am a sinner. And even when my motives are good (though they aren't always), I will still fail sometimes. This could be discouraging. I cannot allow that though. To allow this to deflate me would only keep me from valuable service to the Lord. So I confess. I ask for Him to graciously restore our relationship yet again after I fail. Humility. I must accept that while I live on this earth I won't have it all together.
To avoid making further mistakes, I must draw closer and closer to my Savior, the only flawless One. Pray for His help. Pray that He will guide my thoughts and actions and help me avoid failing in such ways that could hinder my ministry or relationships with others. And I need to learn to hesitate. Learn to take moments to listen for Him, so to speak. Before saying those words, hesitate to see if the Spirit would have me stay silent. Before going to that place, hesitate to see if He would have me go elsewhere. Before I do that action, hesitate to silently, often wordlessly, see if it is His will.
Things happen. We can let them discourage us, or we can learn, be humbled, ask forgiveness, and seek His strength.
I think the choice is clear.