A couple of weeks ago I invited a friend, who had recently retired, to join me for a celebratory lunch. (Both of us have been vaccinated. So we decided it would be safe to venture out for lunch. It was the first public outing for both of us in over a year.) As I was walking into the restaurant I suddenly realized that I had left my wallet sitting on my desk. When I got to the table, I immediately asked my friend if he had any cash or credit cards with him, because even though I had invited him for lunch, I wasn’t going to be any help in actually paying for lunch. He jokingly reminded me that he had just retired and was on a fixed income. Nevertheless, he thought he could manage to pay for lunch. I apologized profusely and assured him that I would send him a check as soon as I got back to the office.
The above incident was yet another embarrassing moment in my life. But then again I have had so many embarrassing moments in my life, I have learned to live with them and eventually to laugh at them—sometimes years and years later.
I think we all experience embarrassing moments in our lives. There are times when we misspeak, act in an inappropriate manner, times when we don’t respond as we should, or forget something important (like a wallet). For me, the most embarrassing moments in my life occur when I very publicly and very obviously don’t act as a follower of Jesus. It could be a flash of irritation, a poorly timed comment, or a failed attempt at humor. Whenever those times occur I cringe both externally and internally. Additionally, I renew my resolve to try harder to be a better person and a better Christian.
One of the things that has helped me to cope with the above is realizing that I am not the only individual who has this problem. In fact, even St. Paul struggled with it. In the letter to the Romans we read: “I cannot even understand my own actions. I do not do what I want to do, but what I hate….What happens is that I do, not the good I will to do, but the evil I do not intend.” (Rom. 7. 15 & 19)
Speaking or acting in ways that are contrary to being a Christian seems to be pervasive in the life of Christians. Fortunately, we know and believe that the grace of God is stronger than any sin. And so I trust that the God who created me understands me better than I understand myself. I also believe that in God’s grace and because of God’s love my sins are forgiven and my many embarrassing (and public) moments forgotten.