Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

In Need of a Do-Over

Have you ever been visiting with your friends, discussing life in general, when some topic comes up and before you think, you say something wholly ungodly? It may have been something that paints another person in an unattractive light or some crass or coarse statement meant to be funny. Whatever it is, it quickly slips out of your mouth and into the ears and minds of the group. Everyone laughs or smiles or makes some relevant verbal response, and life goes on. Later at home, while you are cooking dinner or mowing the lawn, you replay the day in your mind. Your smile quickly fades as you realize the possible damage resulting from your lack of self-control. At that moment, all you want is a do-over. You would give almost anything to be able to go back to that group of friends, stand in their midst, listen to the conversation and say something uplifting and encouraging. You just need a do-over.
Confession time: this happened to me just this week. We were at work, sitting in the Activity Room, discussing the day ahead. As is often the case when a group gathers, conversation changes from work and residents, to others. In a feeble attempt to be funny, (usually unsuccessful), I made a disparaging remark about someone else. Everyone in the group laughed and for a brief moment, I was a star. I was the life of the party. For two seconds. I was "one of them" and it felt good. The group dispersed and we all went about our day. Later that evening, as I was telling my granddaughter why it was important to not say ugly things about people, my heart began to hurt, the guilt of my earlier verbal spew began to stab at my conscience. To be certain, my conscience has been pricked before, but this was more like an assault, a full out stabbing and slashing. I felt like crying. I was so ashamed. Why do I do that? Why is it that the attention of others matters to me? When did hurting someone else become acceptable behavior? And when did it become funny? Why is my tongue so hard to control? Why don't I just think before I speak? I pray that if I did think, I would not say the same thing. If I engaged my brain before I opened my mouth, I hope I would not think it was funny to say hurtful or coarse things. I didn't feel like a star anymore. I didn't feel like the life of the party and I didn't want to be one of them. I wanted to be right in front of the Lord. I wanted release from the assault on my conscience. I wanted a do-over.
I begged God to once again wash me with His blood, to take away my guilt. I pleaded with Him to help me become more like Jesus, to teach me to be kind, to be encouraging, and to have self-control. As His peace swept over me, conviction overcame me. I knew what I had to do. The next day, as I returned to work, I knew I had to face that same group. I thought I would have to seek them out one by one to apologize for my behavior. Oh, how I dreaded reliving that humiliating moment over and over again. But my merciful Father spared me that --all but one of my co-workers were gathered in the same place, discussing the "day's business". I took a deep breath and waited for a break in the conversation. I apologized for my actions the day before. I told the group it had bothered me all night and I really wanted a do-over. They all acted surprised and even a bit irritated that not only had I interrupted a perfectly good gossip session but now none of them felt comfortable continuing the conversation. Sensing their discomfort, I excused myself and went to work. I found the one other co-worker and made my confession, noticing her blank stare and her seeming feeling of urgency to get away. I felt better but I knew my do-over was not yet complete. I had to apologize to the victim of my witty barb, even though she wasn't there and possibly hadn't heard what I'd said, I knew I had to speak with her. Again God showered down mercy, she was gracious and kind and forgiving. She said she had been told but she knew I was just trying to be funny and didn't really meant it. I thanked her for her forgiveness and went to bathroom and cried.
This was one of the most humiliating and yet humbling experiences of my life. I learned my lesson this week. Will I forget and have to learn it again? Probably. But I praise God that He created us with a conscience, and that He is able to use that conscience to make us better people. I praise Him for His mercy and grace, for the blood of His Son who washes away our sins. And I praise Him for sometimes allowing us to have do-overs.


Psalms 130:7 " . . .put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption."


Anonymous lisa said...

Oh, boy, do I ever need do-overs on a regular basis!! I have a tendency to speak without thinking first. Great post, Neva.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing that. I am going to preach on the Humility of the Cross on Sunday and might use you as an illustration.

you know, in preacher school, they recommend we not use too many personal stories in the pulpit....which is a great excuse for me...


8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ouch! Off my toes, Neva.

Just kidding. We should all be praising God for do-overs. We all need them.


8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The humiliation of apologizing is horrible but it is much better than the "assault" of guilt on your conscience.

voice of experience,

9:05 AM  
Blogger Paula Harrington said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I wonder how many times something I've said has made Jesus cringed. It's shameful. Glad He loves me enough to forgive.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! It takes a lot of guts to confess on the www. --probably about as much as it took to apologize. Good job and good post. You always make me think.


9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say except
and Wow!


9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking without thinking, it is a dilemma or an epidemic, I have it too. Thanks Neva

Love ya

10:00 AM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

I was brought to this post by Don Neyland's blog because he said that your post was the best he had read all year. I found out once I got here that he was talking about yesterday's. I think I like today's even better because you not only did a good job encouraging us through your need to do a do-over but you also did a good job with making the incident right. Thanks for your wise example.
love ya,
Sista Kathy

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guilty, guilty, guilty!

I need a do-over!


10:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank-you Neva, I would much rather just let time and prayer take care of things for me than do it the way I am supposed to.

Thank-you for reminding me that a do-over doesn't mean I'll do better next time. It means I will stop right here and ask God's forgiveness, I'll find a way to rectify this situation the best I can as soon as possible and then to make sure I will do my level best to make sure this never happens again.
Lisa S.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Neva said...

Awww Kathy,
I thought you came just because you loved me. :(


10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright Neva you hit me right on the head again!

I too have said something in passing that was to say the least unkind and my conscience was pricked and I had to make amends to the person I disparaged. A humbling experience but a needed one for me to walk on a path as close to Jesus as I can. My tongue and sardonic sense of humor does not sit well with everyone and I ever need to monitor that member and fail miserably at times. I am thankful that most people are gracious when approached with my apology and I am grateful that I can take this fault to our Lord and ask for His help. Over and over He forgives me over and over His love gives me strength to try to be better.

Thanks for this blog as a reminder for this flawed human that I am not any better than other souls in Christ's eyes and only His grace is my salvation

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great lesson, thanks for sharing this today,


12:53 PM  
Blogger Mike M said...

Great post!!

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, praise God for do-overs.
I need them all the time.


2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Madalyn, most people are gracious when apologized to --however we could probably do more to win souls if we watched our words so we didn't have to apologize. Right?

PS. you hit me on the head and stepped on my toes with this one.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes it hurts to come here--
You really prick my concience.


4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

of all of my struggles, the struggle with my talk is the worst. I try to convince myself I am just venting and that it is really good to vent or you will explode. I try to tell myself that venting is better than carrying a grudge and that as long as I am surrounded by safe people it is okay. I change the name of the action so that I can justify it by calling it a "prayer concern" and then get away with trashing someone else, meddling in theri lives and plain old gossiping about them. I know this is wrong. I am convinced that in most of my interactions of late, I truly need a do-over. Lord, give me courage.


4:37 PM  
Blogger Liz Moore said...

I praise God for people like you who are willing to stand up for what is right. It's not usually the popular thing to do and is sometimes very hard. But I have learned that God didn't call us to be popular or comfortable. He called us to be obedient. Thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us all whose we are. Blessings!

5:59 PM  
Blogger His Girl said...

Oh Neva, what an encouragement you are to me. Sadly, I am far too often in need of a "do over" - and I'm afraid I don't always have the courage to remedy the situation like you did. Thank you for the encouragement to do right!

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant begin to tell you what I learn from my visits here. Not only that I need to do the right thing when I do a "do-over" but also that I need to be gracious when someone comes to apologize to me, rather than hurt and irritated.
Thank you Neva. You are amazing to me.


7:32 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

I think you need to stop hitting people over the head and stomping on their toes. Didn't your Momma tell you that you can lose friends that way?
love ya

10:50 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

What a bad aim I am--the target was their hearts.



10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:50 PM  
Blogger jel said...

you are something special (sister of the heart)

5:35 AM  
Anonymous donna said...

this went straight to the heart...missed my toes completely...have a blessed weekend...


6:24 AM  
Blogger Nicki said...

What a precious testimony.........thank you for being so honest as I know we all face so many situations where the desire for a do-over is huge! But praise God that you actually followed through!! I loved reading this, I'll be back! Have a great day!

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Helen said...

Thanks for that post, Neva. Sometimes I am glad, that I need a daily do-over. Otherwise I might have never figured out, that I need God to get my life as it was meant to be, right?

2:55 AM  
Blogger AncientWanderer said...

being a Christian ain't nothin but one big do-over after another.

I love it!!

9:54 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Thanks, Neva, for sharing. I am not talented verbally and rarely have a witty comment to make. And WAY too often what I intend as witty is unsuccessful and in need of a do-over. One of Satan's temptations is for us to increase acceptance and popularity with peers at the expense of others. I think your confession and apology to the group and especially to the talked-about individual was courageous and much harder than confessing to this sympathetic group of sisters and brothers.

7:57 PM  

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