In 1531, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. The first of the proclamations was that all of the Christian life is one of repentance. That is to say nothing will change until we recognize our sins, faults and errors. The first step is recognition of the problem and that we turn inward in our valuation.
It was a cold and rainy football game in late November. We were a 42 point underdog in the state title game, it was late in the fourth quarter and we had just scored and were only an extra point away from tying the game. The snap went through the hands of the holder and the result was an inability to tie the game.
I asked the holder what happened because the snap looked high. He said it was his fault because the ball went through his hands. A few seconds after that a lineman came over and said the snap did not make a difference because he missed his block and the attempt would have been blocked anyway. Then, the center came over and said it was his fault because the snap was too high and impossible to handle.
In sixman football, we only have six on the field and half of the team took ownership of the situation. They were all correct in their assessments; however, the real problem was not them but my failure to call a timeout to ensure everyone could regroup for such a critical extra point.
While we did not walk away that day as state champions, I felt such pride in the humility of these players and the team they had become. These young men were confident in themselves to admit they had been wrong. They could have pointed the finger at each other and certainly at me. Instead, they opted to own their part in the failure and by so doing earn the respect of everyone.
It is difficult as men and leaders to admit that we are wrong. Why? Maybe we are too proud and don't want to be seen as weak, possibly we are ashamed of the mistakes that led us to where we are or maybe we even fear what others might do or say if the truth be told. This was true of some of the greatest leaders in the bible as well.
Say you are my sister so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.... But the Lord afflicted Pharoah and his house with great plagues...
Abraham was in a desperate situation with famine attacking his people and being out of step with God. He then compounds his problems by bringing plagues upon the Pharaoh by prostituting his wife. He was failing to seek God, a total coward in fear of Pharaoh and an inability to initially take responsibility.
Abraham, the father of many nations, man of God, had placed himself in this situation through his own decisions and a failure to put God first. Then, the bible tells us that he repented. He owned his failures and made the difficult decision of turning around and facing Pharoah. He built an altar and before all of his people humbled himself before God.
Through his repentance, Abraham was exhibiting to his people he had made mistakes leading them. He showed them he was no longer worried about the outcome but instead to trust in the Lord and do what was right in God's eyes. He made his faults known to all his people and by so doing earned the respect of those whom he was leading.
As men, God has made us leaders. We are to lead our families, in the workplace and at church. To become the strong leaders which are needed to defeat the enemy we must be willing to repent. We must be willing to accept the responsibilities of our actions by acknowledging that the Christian life is foremost one of repentance. Through our repentance and recognizing Jesus as our Lord and savior, God will open the doors which will allow us to lead with confidence and glorify him in the process.