When it’s your turn, own-up!

| January 3, 2011 | 0 Comments


I didn’t like the accordion. I wanted to play the guitar, but my mother liked the 1950’s TV icon Lawrence Welk. She thought I should learn to play like him, not Elvis Presley. So for 3 years I endured accordion lessons and by default learned to play a few hymns, a polka, and some simple Christmas songs, much to my mother’s satisfaction.

Then came the infamous night of the Boy Scout Talent show; I was third on the program, dressed in a coat and tie, no less. The song listed next to my name was “Lady of Spain,” and I knew it by heart.

“Ronnie Rose is up next with his accordion. Here he is, the next Lawrence Welk.”

I hated that introduction. I waited a moment, praying for an earthquake. Finally I pushed myself out into that lonely, glaring light, and without thinking, commanded my 5th grade fingers to hit that keyboard running. They obeyed, but launched into the song from the wrong starting place. It was horrible…all wrong. Instead of stopping, owning the mistake and starting over, I surged ahead trying to find my place as I went along. Actually I think I got the last part of the song right. It was way beyond embarrassing.

I quit that night. For several weeks, I blamed my mother, the accordion, the lighting, the announcer, the song, the program, and the two girls back stage. It took months for me to finally own up, to admit it was my doing, my bad, and my fault. One night God and I had a long talk about it, but I still never played the accordion in public again.

Jesus followers learn how to own up; they discover, early on, that holding grudges and blaming others for personal mess-ups is a relentless burden that drains passion and power from life. And along the way they discover the liberation that comes from surrendering the “blame card.” Faith encourages us to stand our ground and admit mess-ups. This confession, by the way, is life in the deep end. God lives there.

It hurts to mess up, to fail, to make the big mistakes, and God doesn’t take the pain away, or keep us from failing in the future. He just loves us anyway. From the beginning, he took us “as is” and keeps it up.


The parenting class was over. It had been a good series, and the evaluations were very positive. I was still celebrating the success when I walked into the house. The girls were screaming at each other, blaming each other for some lousy stain on a sweater, slamming doors and throwing stuff at each other. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. Here I was fresh from teaching people how to parent, and I had kids that were totally out of control.

I yelled, “Stop it, right now! We don’t talk to each other like that in this house.”

“But Dad‚” came the reply.

“Hush, not another word,” I commanded.

I blasted. I separated them, condemned them, blamed them, and grounded them. I was furious, and they were in tears.

When I finally walked into the kitchen, my wife asked, “Did the class not go well?”

“Did you hear them? I can’t believe you let that happen,” I continued the tirade.

“Well, Mr. Parent Educator, they were practicing a skit for church.”

Those words hung in the air like flashing red lights in the rearview mirror. I was devastated. My first reaction was anger at my wife for not interrupting my rant, but I had been so worked up I had nailed the girls before she even had a chance to intervene.

It was my bad. Guilt and remorse overwhelmed me. There was only one thing to do, only one.

When I got to the bedroom door, I knocked and asked if I could come in. “Girls, I feel horrible. I judged you and messed up big time! All I can say is that I love you and I really hope you will forgive me. And I wish you would pray for me and ask God to forgive me for the way I treated you tonight.”

With hugs and more tears, they did. Oh, one wanted a new car and the other asked for more allowance.

God showed up that night and left his fingerprints on my girls.


Two truths will shape the first week of the new year for you.

1. God takes you “as is,” mistakes and mess-ups and all. It takes faith to accept that. Celebrate it.
2. When it comes time to knock on that door, totally surrender the “blame card,” own up, and ask for forgiveness.

Then, wait for it, wait, even though you are in deep water, feel it, that’s solid ground.

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Category: Faith Notes

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