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Updated: Jul 17, 2023

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭51‬:‭10

Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are a part of the learning experience. How you attack challenges and respond to mistakes ultimately defines you and makes you who you are.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when an athlete can’t take responsibility for their actions. Each play, there are several opportunities for people to mess up - it’s just part of the game. The best of the best know this. They try to minimize their mistakes, but they aren’t afraid to make them and own them.

When you mess up, just admit it, learn from it, and move on knowing that it is just a part of the process.

One of the toughest stories to read in the Bible is the story of David and Bathsheba. The last couple of weeks, I have written about how David was a hero who became the beloved king of the Israelites. God watched over and protected David as he conquered almost all of the promised land.

God Himself called David a man after His own heart who does all His will in Acts 13:22.

But in 2nd Samuel, David, a man whom God is blessed and protected, does something very bad.

David sees a woman, Bathsheba, bathing, and eventually has a kid with her. Bathsheba was married to one of David's soldiers, Uriah. So that Uriah didn’t find out, David had Uriah killed in battle, and David married Bathsheba.

How could a man after God’s own heart do something like this?

Because nobody is perfect. When we make mistakes, how we respond is what defines us.

David wrote much of the book of Psalms, including chapter 51. Psalms 51 is a prayer from David asking God for forgiveness and for a clean heart.

David prays, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.” )Psalm‬ ‭51‬:‭1‬-‭3‬)

David doesn’t just admit he was wrong, he asks for forgiveness and he asks God to wash him and cleanse him.

What I take from this is, when we make a mistake, we should own it and admit it, apologize and/or ask for forgiveness, and then learn how we can do better.

I also like what David wrote in 51:10-12:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”

True confession holds nothing back. It’s a complete and total admission of sin. It doesn’t make any excuses and there is no sharing blame.

When you make a mistake, and you will, don’t run and hide from it. Own it, learn from it, and then move on

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right to do what’s right.” Live by that. Study God’s word and pray daily so you know what is right from wrong.

God will never put you in a situation you can’t recover from. Remember that he said, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29‬:‭11‬)


1 - What is a big mistake that you owned up to? After you owned it, how did it go?

2 - Have you ever made a mistake that you didn’t own that ended up coming back to hurt you?

3 - If one of your best friends made a big mistake that they were really struggling with, what advice would you give them?

Dear God, thank you for all the blessings you have given me. I am so thankful that you continue to watch over me, lead me, and guide me. But God, I know I’m not perfect. You know I’m not perfect. Have mercy on me. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways so that sinners will turn back to you. In Jesus’s name, amen.

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