The Healing Power of Owning Our Mistakes

Taking responsibility for our actions requires courage and honesty—and leads to peace.

Posted in , Jul 24, 2019

Owning up to a mistake

In the news we often hear about people who were caught cheating or stealing, but it’s rare that they own up to their mistakes. However, when a person does take responsibility for their actions, it paves the way for self-restoration and the slow process of regaining the trust of others.  

So why don’t we always confess our mistakes? First, we often don’t see our actions as being wrong in the way others do, especially those who are affected by them. Second, our pride gets in the way. It takes humility to admit that we have failed and let others down. Third, we are afraid of the consequences that come from taking responsibility for our bad choices. 

Lastly, we feel ashamed and don’t know how to come to terms with our past in a positive way. As author Brené Brown states, “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.” 

In his book, Failure, How I Achieved It, C. Michael Courtney had to come to terms with his actions. To others, it seemed as if he had his life together, but on the inside he was battling addiction. 

His addiction took place for many years in secret while he served different congregations as pastor. In the winter of 2003, while serving at a church in Florida, the truth was exposed. Consequently, his wife left him, and he lost his church. Today he shares that this was the best thing that ever happened to him. 

He finally admitted his disease and that he was powerless over his addiction. He went to a clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, and started his lifelong journey of recovery. While at the clinic, he had to come to terms with his painful past, lies, disease and the damage he had done to his family, church and others. 

After a year of separation, Michael and his wife, Doris, restored their marriage and family. Several years later, he started a faith-based counseling center called Branches that offers healing and hope for those struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and shame. 

Taking responsibility for our actions requires courage and honesty. Regardless of how long it takes, it’s worth the effort, struggle, pain and humility. When we finally confess our wrongs and come to peace with them, we can experience freedom and joy.

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