Recently we had our staff retreat for my office. We had a wonderful retreat leader who began the day with some powerful reflections before giving us most of the day to unpack the wisdom and let the Holy Spirit work on us.
The biggest impact might have been a conversion in her own heart throughout the day. She had made an off the cuff remark that maybe wasn’t the fairest to some others in ministry. I did not think much of it, but it obviously pierced her heart over lunch that she had done a wrong.
What happened next was to begin the afternoon she completely explained her action, how she came to realize the error of her ways, and that she didn’t feel God shame her. Instead, God asked her a question. The question was this:
“What are you going to do about it?”
We all reflected on the power of God’s mercy, and that it isn’t so much a blank slate of forgiveness to abuse, but really an opportunity. God was inviting her to make a change, to do penance. To make amends.
This struck me as often I find myself apologizing in ministry almost as much as I’m doing the ministry God called me to. My wife often tells me to stop apologizing and saying sorry for things I don’t need to apologize for. And she’s right, I am often too much a people pleaser and don’t stand up for myself. But I also tell her that I kept screwing up! So I have to apologize!
But I think I often fail at the more critical next step. I often apologize, but I don’t answer God’s question of what am I going to do about it, and then act on it.
So I just spent tonight (when I wrote this) apologizing and seizing the opportunity to act in direct response and make a change. I’m not perfect, far from it. But I can be better, so I need to try.
The faithfulness is to the effort, not the results. God’s giving me an opportunity to be better, who am I to turn God down?
So I ask you as we wrap this season of Youth Ministry, what opportunity is God placing before you to make a change?
Share your opportunity in the comments and let’s hold one another accountable this summer!