Recently, I have had a convergence of several things where I couldn't use my usual excuse (at least in my mind) of "it's not my fault." Granted these things that I did were not overt sin but more of just being uncaring, unfeeling, not considering how others might respond to what I say or do. These are things that should never have occurred and there is no one else to blame for what I have done.
How does this happen? I can name several things in my life that need to change... These things happened because of complacency, spiritual laziness, pride, ego, etc. You name it. Those things that I thought I have hidden away and only God and I know about it. Yet, I have found, that these hidden things take root. They end up coming out.
God is not going to collude with me. He's not gonna say, "Hey, this is just between you and me. I'm gonna help you not let these things pop out in your dealing with others." Nope.
God's more like, "you know those things that are just between you and me, those ugly thoughts you have of others? That indifference you carry with you about others? Well, those need to be gone from your life, not just hidden to others. Are you gonna play the Christian game or are you gonna be truly transformed? Oh, and BTW, they're not as hidden as much as you think they are."
What's interesting, when I was recently confronted about these things by people who are important in my life, I couldn't say anything but "I was wrong." At the time I did them, I didn't thing they were that bad. But gaining a perspective outside myself, what I thought was benign was actually very unfeeling. A cool thing (or maybe it's not as cool as a I think) is that these confrontations didn't come from a Christian perspective. I was confronted about these things from people who did not even touch upon my Christianity when confronting me. It wasn't something like, "you call yourself a Christian and you say/do those things?" No. It was simply from a personal standpoint. They didn't know it, but God was speaking to me thru them. I was nailed. I had no excuses. There was nobody I could throw under the bus. I shot myself in the foot. It was me.
One person said to me, "I know what you said, you didn't mean. After all, I know that you are man of integrity. I just wonder if you thought about how I might have felt when you said that?" What popped into my head was, "How many hits on my integrity can I take before people stop giving me the benefit of the doubt? How many more times can I do this and people will stop confronting me and just write me out of their lives?" Again, I could say nothing in my defense. I was clearly wrong. I apologized, asking for forgiveness. That's all I could do.
I am grateful that I have people in my life who are willing to give me second chances. I don't want to presume on their mercy. I don't want to have to ask for a 3rd chance, a 4th chance, etc.
Ultimately, I'm glad that God is a God of Second Chances (and 2,876th chances)... I don't want to presume on God's mercy either: "Yet, God keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me!" - Psalm 19:13
But when I do shoot myself in the foot I know that "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." - Lamentations 3:22-23.
God has forgiven me, my friends have forgiven me. Now I need to forgive myself.