“Mama, I messed up.” My college-aged son leaned in across the booth at our favorite breakfast spot as he whispered the confession. I held my breath and waited for him to tell me something catastrophic. “I went to this party over the weekend, and I thought I could resist the temptation, but I gave in and drank.” By the time he spit out the final part of his confession, I had already mentally drafted an announcement for my blog declaring I would never write another parenting book again. So you can imagine my relief when he confessed that his mess-up was drinking alcohol at a party over the weekend. I tried to resist jumping up, hugging his neck, and screaming, “Is that all, son?!” After, of course, I smashed in the glass case that contained a defibrillator on a nearby wall and gave my heart a quick jumpstart.
My son loves Jesus, and he knows right from wrong. He attends church weekly; he is a Young Life leader at a local high school and is involved in a weekly Bible study. He reads his Bible, and he prays. And he still messed up because that’s what Christians do: they mess up. A lot.
A part of me was envious at the ease with which my son had made his confession. Those three words—“I messed up”—are hard enough to say to God, much less anyone else. What impressed me the most about my son’s confession was that he had absolutely no interest in playing the pretender game. Not even with his mother. He strayed from God’s path, recognized the error of his ways, and responded to the conviction with a godly sorrow that leads to repentance. My son did not doubt God’s grace. He knew he was forgiven, and he was ready to move on.
On my drive home from the breakfast, I prayed for my son and thanked God for his tender heart that readily responded to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. I thanked God that my son and I have the kind of relationship where he feels comfortable telling me about times when he stumbles or strays. And I thanked God for His grace that covers my son’s sin—as well as my own. In the week that followed, I continued to think about the freedom that comes in being able to say those three words: “I messed up.”
Why is it so hard to admit to the tug-of-war we experience with sin on a daily basis? What if God’s people could come clean about the struggle? What if we could be honest—not just with God, but also with each other?
ENTER TO WIN a copy of Vicki’s new book ‘Move On; When Mercy Meets Your Mess’.
About the book:
- the need for approval
- struggles and broken dreams
- Christian snobbery