It was a difficult job for me. Financial work was definitely not my area of strength. Everyday I would think to myself, "How on earth did a people person like myself windup Executive Secretary of FINANCE?" I made many mistakes as I learned what the duties of my job were. In my little office I would close the door and pray for help many times a day. Stubbornly my mind kept eschewing the ideas.
One day I made a foolish mistake. It wasn't something that caused any repercussions for my employers. I could have made excuses (and there were valid reasons for my mistake). I explained the situation to my husband and asked him what I should do. His response was excellent and I still use the advice now, 25 years later. "Don't make excuses. Say, I'm sorry that I made this mistake. I corrected my error quickly and it will not happen again."
I was so afraid that I would be fired. I was still in probation time. I couldn't afford to lose that job. My job got us health insurance, AND paid for Nyle's tuition to Law School. At $15,000.00 a year that was nothing to take for granted.
Literally shaking I entered my bosse's office. I sat down (so I didn't fall down) and explained the mistake. I then apologized, and affirmed that it would not happen again. I was so afraid to hear his response that I looked down at the floor.
"I appreciate your honesty. Please be a little more careful."
That was it? The reaction that I had given so much energy towards? Then I started shaking for a new reason. It's called relief.
How many times in life do we have the opportunity of facing our accountability. It's an opportunity that can lead us to better behavior. It also helps if you recognize that EVERYONE has made mistakes in their lives. Even your boss has made mistakes.
Shakespeare said, "To err is human, to forgive is divine." How about when you are on the divine side of forgiveness. Do you hold grudges? Or do you make a conscious choice to forgive, and let the mistakes of others slide away into the past?
In the Bible there is a story about a man who can not pay a debt that he is owing. He goes to his creditor and begs for more time to pay back the debt. The creditor is a gentle, kind man. He generously agrees to give the debtor more time.
Then the debtor finds himself in the position of creditor. One of his employees who has borrowed money from him asks for an extension on his loan. The debtor now turned creditor refuses to give the man more time.
Hearing of this action the original creditor calls the debtor in to his office. He explains that he has heard of his foolish and unforgiving action. He explains that since the man will not give his employee an extension and forgiveness he will now follow the debtors actions. He is calling the loan due. If the man can't pay the loan now he will seize the man's possessions.
How often does that principle apply in your life? Are you ever forgiven from a mistake only to then turn around and judge or criticize someone for making the same mistake that you just made?
Do you face your mistakes with accountability and awareness of the duties of your life then turn around and judge others harshly? "Judge not that ye be not judged, is a principle from the Bible. I find that it is a valid principle in any walk of life.
A friend who had a very controlling, miserable Father said to his Dad one day, "You know Dad it must be very nice to be you. You NEVER make any mistakes. It's always someone else's mistake...never yours." I fear that the Father in this situation simply did not understand what his son was saying. Accountability and duty were not words or actions that he used.
Take stock of your life. Do you feel comfortable with the level of accountability and duty you exercise in your own life? If not what do you plan to do about it?