It happened last Sunday night. I lost my cool with a student who was trying my patience all evening. When I tell people that I work with middle schoolers they often tell me that I must have tons of patience. Usually that’s the case, usually I can diffuse a situation when a student pushes my buttons, but not on Sunday night. I could convince myself that the student deserved it or that I was tired or make up some other excuse. The reality is that the beast is still in me. It’s still in all of us. Sin is seeking to devour the Spirit in our lives. Praise God that the Spirit is greater than my flesh and that His grace is bigger, much bigger, than my failures. Praise Jesus that it’s HIS ministry not mine.

I’ve tried to make this blog both personal and practical. If there is anything I learned over the years, it’s how to handle my mistakes (because there have been plenty). While loosing my temper was regrettable and wrong, what happened after was actually encouraging.

  1. I grieved. I generally felt sorry. Not for my reputation, but for the student and for the reputation of our ministry and church. When I felt my sorrow, the Spirit was working to correct me in my sin and that is a very good thing.
  2. I confessed. I contacted my boss and told him what I had done. The last thing he needed was to be blindsided by a family contacting the church. When you make a mistake, the worst thing you can do is to hide it.
  3. I pursued reconciliation with the family. I called up the student’s dad and explained the situation. It was important to me to be clear and honest. It turns out that the son hadn’t shared with his parents yet, but I know that they appreciated me coming to them directly. The parents are Godly and were gracious and forgiving. I am grateful that I still have their support. I believe by being humble and honest, I actually built a stronger relationship with this family.

I share this with you to remind you that you will never reach a point in ministry where your sin won’t surface. It’s inevitable. The key is to embrace humility and repentance. I wouldn’t be where I am in ministry without these three words, “I AM SORRY!”

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