If you ever went to summer camp you may remember that day at the end of the week when all of the “lost and found” items are laid out for people to claim. Dirty towels, underclothes, etc., are all laid out for the campers to claim. Inevitably most items go unclaimed. It seems that no one wants to claim dirty, soiled possessions, no matter how much they may have cost.
I find the same thing is true concerning behaviors. When I call down my students for their behavior they usually argue, justify or ignore my admonitions. When I confront a counselee about a poor choice they have made, they find a way to blame someone else or some circumstance for their action. When I am mediating a discussion between a husband and wife, the majority of the time is spent hurling missiles at each other about THEIR behavior. Rarely does someone simply own their behavior and ask for forgiveness.
But this ownership of poor choices is actually the first step toward change and healing. The Bible calls it confession and I refer to it as choosing honesty. The word translated confession in the New Testament literally means to “speak the same”. It is agreeing with God (or with an accuser) about what you did. It is saying “You are right… I lied… I manipulated … I violated this standard…. I was selfish.” Only when we own our behavior can we really experience forgiveness (I John 1:9) and begin to change.
The story of the prodigal son in the Bible is a perfect example (Luke 15). The prodigal languished in misery until he was willing to own his poor choice and confess to his father (Luke 15:17-19). Forgiveness, reconciliation and celebration of life followed his willingness to fully own his poor choices.
What relationship in your life might be restored if you could completely own your own choices?