Falling flat on your face

There once was a guy who was once sitting on top of the world. He had it all. He had power; he was king of the world. He had money; he was one of the richest men on earth. He had fame; people all over the world knew his name.  With all of the money, power, and fame also came women. This guy had ladies throwing themselves at him. He maintained a lot of relationships at once. If there was ever a guy who had everything that money and power could provide, this was the guy.  But it wasn’t good enough for him… He wanted more!

One day while walking along the patio of his palace, he noticed a beautiful woman across the street. He knew this woman well, because she was the wife of one of his coworkers. He also knew that her husband was out of town. This man took advantage of the situation and invited the woman to come over and have a few drinks. Next thing you know, one thing leads to another, and they end up in bed with one another.

What he thought was a secret rendezvous turned out to be a life-changing mistake. This woman got pregnant! Needless to say, this destroyed any hope of hiding his affair. So, he decided to try to cover it up. He orchestrated his friend’s business travel so that he would come home and be intimate with his wife. The scheme didn’t work. His friend was much too devoted and refused to go home until the job was done.

Desperate for a way out of this developing scandal, the ladies’ man chose to have his friend killed in order to take his wife legally. What started off as a simple indiscretion became adultery and murder!  If you’re familiar with the Bible, you know by now that I’m referring to David, the king of Israel. David had everything that money, power, and fame could offer. But it wasn’t good enough. He wanted more. So, he had an affair with Bathsheba, his friend Uriah’s wife.  To cover-up this mistake, David had Uriah murdered. For a period of months, David was convinced he got away with it… until God sent a messenger to confront David about his sin.

This part of the story could make any tabloid newspaper. It is a scandal of biblical proportions… Literally! David deserved to die for what he did. There was no way to rationalize or apologize for this affair. It was a capital offense worthy of execution. If there was ever a man who fell flat on his face in the Bible, it was David.  Here’s how David responded when confronted with his crime:

Looking for a new beginning

When you mess up- fess up!  David didn’t run away from his mistakes. David didn’t try to put the blame on somebody else. David willingly accepted his crime when confronted by God’s prophet in 2 Samuel 12:13.

Any hope that David had of restitution or forgiveness was going to have to come from God. David knew that there was no way to fool God. He fell before the judge of all humanity and begged for forgiveness. In response, God gave David a second chance! But there would also be consequences…

Getting back up after you fall

I think oftentimes people are unwilling to confront their mistakes because they don’t want to have to suffer the consequences. But the truth is, there’s no way to get beyond your past failures if you’re not willing to accept the consequences that go along with them. David was a man willing to confront the consequences of his mistakes.

This is the first step in getting back up after you fall. If you’re unwilling to confront your consequences, there’s no way that you can recover from past mistakes. You’re just prolonging the inevitable. Have the courage to confront your consequences.  Facing the music is the only way to move forward after a fall.

Correcting your mistakes

Do you find it interesting that 2 Samuel 12:13 says David went to God and asked for forgiveness? I think the order in which David sought forgiveness is incredibly important. Ultimately, any offense against another human being is also an offense against God. God made people to dwell perfectly with one another. When you hurt someone else, you also hurt your relationship with God.

Perhaps, this is why David confessed his sin to God first. He knew in order to get right with other people, we must first get right with God. The first step in correcting a past mistake is to run to God, admit your fault, and ask for his forgiveness. The second step in correcting your mistake is to go to the person you’ve offended and ask for their forgiveness. Both of these steps are essential, but hard to do.  Maybe it was because King David was willing to admit his mistakes that God was willing to allow him to keep his kingdom.

Learning to fall forward

Let your mistakes become your master.  This is the last, and perhaps the most important, step after you’ve messed up. Learn from past mistakes; don’t run from them. I refer to this as falling forward. When you trip and fall you can either fall backwards and tumble down the hill that you’re trying to climb, or you can fall forward.

Falling hurts. Falling is going to cause you to momentarily stumble. Making a mistake is going to set you back. But failing to learn from past mistakes is like tumbling back down a path that you just traveled. You’ve got a long way to go and a lot of hard work to recover from that kind of fall. Learning from your mistakes is like falling forward. It still hurts. But it doesn’t cause you to have to re-walk the same path you’ve just traveled.

Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes we make huge mistakes. When those times happen, you have a choice. You can fall backward by running from your mistakes, by trying to cover them up, or you can fall forward by admitting your mistakes and learning from them. The choice is up to you.

Further reading