It is a fundamental mark of spiritual health to be able to say, “I was wrong.” If you want a verse to go with my thesis, take a look at Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” When we sin, Solomon says we only have two options. Option 1 is to conceal it. That means to cover it up, to make excuses, to rationalize, to pass the buck. When that happens, we do not prosper. We go through the internal hell of living with a guilty conscience.
Option 2 is clear. Our other choice is to confess our sins and to renounce them. Both those words are important. To confess means to own up to what you did. When you confess your sins, you are saying, “Yes, I did it and I know it was wrong.” When you renounce your sins, you are saying, “I’ve been walking in the wrong path and now, with God’s help, I’m not going to walk in that path anymore. I’m going to change the direction of my life.”
Sometimes we make our excuses so subtly that we don’t realize what we’re doing. Let’s say that a husband is describing an argument he had with his wife. He justifies himself this way: “All I said was, ’Is your mother coming again?’” Now you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out that you’re in trouble the moment those words come out of your mouth.
Whenever we preface something with the four words, “All I said was,” we’re in big trouble. Those are four of the most destructive words in the English language. They imply that you are sane, logical and loving and the other person is a nut. When you use those four words, you’re really saying, “It’s not my fault. I don’t have a problem. Somebody else has a problem.”
In one of his books Bruce Larson mentions visiting a halfway house in Western Ontario. It was a place where people with severe emotional struggles might come and find healing. The main meeting room was the living room of an old farmhouse. A beautiful sign above the fireplace caught his attention. It read, “Do you want to be right or well?”
What a great question. Each one of us faces that same choice. As long as you demand that you be right all the time, your life will never change. Once you learn to say, “I was wrong,” then you begin to get well.