What to do when you know you've messed up
From Genesis: A 7-Week Devotional
Have you ever done something you knew was wrong, but rather than speak up you went along with the plan? That’s what happens to Jacob in Genesis 27. In those moments when conscience is forgotten, trouble always follows.
In all fairness to Jacob, his family was not fully trusting God. Jacob’s father was ignoring God’s plan, and his mother was advising him to lie and connive. Those of us who did not grow up in godly homes can relate. We often step into messes we didn’t create and find ourselves faced with this decision: Will we follow the family tradition of doing life on our own terms, or will we seek God’s best?
How we react to a moral dilemma often exposes our real motives. Jacob knew lying to his dad was wrong, but his fear was more about getting caught than about doing things God’s way. Instead of allowing the fear of getting caught to serve as a warning sign, Jacob went along with his mother’s deceit and found himself running for his life.
Following our consciences can protect us from the sting of conviction. Like Jacob, our decisions always have consequences. God can, and does, show us valuable lessons through our mistakes. But how much heartache might we avoid if we obeyed our consciences in the first place?
When we find ourselves deep in the consequences of our actions, the easy thing is to give up. But the best thing is to examine our hearts, own up to our sin, and ask God’s forgiveness.
God never stops pursuing us, just like He never stopped pursuing Jacob. After years of messes, Jacob was forced to deal with his past and his God (Genesis 32:22-32). He would come out of that situation scarred, but right with the Lord.
God wants the same for us today. We might be scarred by life, but we’re never too far gone to get right with God.
- Have you ever made a decision you regretted while following the advice of friends or family? Were there warning signs you ignored?
- What did that situation show you about the motives of your heart at the time? What were the consequences you experienced?
- How do you know you’ve made a mistake? How would you describe the feeling of conviction? If we never feel convicted about how our sin displeases God, we might not have a relationship with Him yet.