Humiliating mistakes

Crowd pointing fingers at a young man

Admitting that I have made a mistake, even a small one, hurts my pride. Turning up a day early for an appointment I don’t actually want to attend – all the rushing around and effort to get there – only to experience the humiliation of having the day wrong.

Why the jab of humiliation?Am I that fragile? In a way, yes. Because I didn’t want to be there anyway I braced myself, stood strong, gritted my teeth ready to face a fear, only to have the air fart out like a whoopie cushion.

Embarrassing. Even more so for having tried to appear stronger than I am. Perhaps if the mask of ‘having it together’ had been left aside it would be easier to accept a minor mistake. But that’s the mask pride likes to wear, covering any hint of weakness, the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach.

This mask is a favourite in the world, popular amongst teenagers, carefully worn by women in cafes and men at sporting events. In most financial transactions at least one party wears it.

God sees the masks we proudly wear, and ignores them. For example, imagine purchasing something on a payment plan only to realize once you got home that you really cannot afford it. Do you humiliate yourself by taking it back and breaking the contract, or do you squeeze every last dollar out of your budget to make it seem like you can afford it?

Proverbs 6:1–5 reveals God’s viewpoint:

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
for you have come into the hand of your neighbour:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbour.
Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Pleading urgently is not dignified. A gazelle struggling to free itself cares only to save it’s life – we expect it to struggle, kick, fight and even soil itself in it’s fight for freedom.

Image of shamed young man: iStockphoto