There are things that can be changed and things that cannot be changed. For example, you can’t change the seasons, but you can change yourself. And yet change is hard. It is a difficult thing to admit you are wrong but even more difficult to take action to change those things that are wrong in your life. My nephew’s wife made a mistake as a young teenager that caused her great anxiety. Walter Anderson said, “Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” She decided that there would be no relief from her guilt until she took action to resolve the situation. Here is her experience in her own words.
“When I was thirteen-years old, I somehow acquired a heavy duty slingshot. I know it is a little unusual for a girl but I practiced shooting that sling shot into a field behind my families’ home. One day after practicing for a bit I wandered into the front yard and noticed a bird sitting on a telephone wire directly in front of my family home. I had a metal marble in my pocket and decided that I would try to hit that bird. I prepared the sling shot, fired and to my shock the bird didn’t move, but instead I heard a very loud thud. I knew that I had hit my neighbor’s large bay window. Instantly fear struck me. I ran into the house and made myself scarce. I felt sick to my stomach. Later that day, the neighbor came over and explained that they had a hole in there bay window that looked like a gunshot hole and were very concerned about it since they had little children. They asked if we had seen anyone behind our house shooting a gun or if we knew anything about it. I lied and said that I knew nothing. Immediately I felt even sicker. Not only had I ruined their window, I was also dishonest.
I lived with that lie for five years until the guilt was more than I could bear. Seeing my neighbors at church, outside, and around town was a constant reminder of what I had done wrong. So when I was eighteen-years old, and a senior in high school, I called my neighbor. Teary eyed I told the neighbor that I was the one that had broken the window, that I was very sorry and that I wanted to pay for it. I remember feeling as though a huge burden had been taken from me. For five years I felt guilty and upset with myself for having been so foolish every time I looked toward their house. All it took was saying, “I’m sorry, can I pay for it?” to remove all the years of guilt.”
As much as possible we must make restitution for the wrongs we have done. For example, if something was stolen, then it must be paid back. How can you make restitution unless you confess what you have done? Keri Russell said: “Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” A simple act taken to right a wrong can change our lives.
• When we make mistakes it creates guilt that doesn’t really go away until we take action
• One simple decision to right a wrong can change our lives forever
• It is often far easier to make things right than to live with the guilt
• You can’t change the seasons but you can change yourself and improve
If there are things in your life that have not been resolved take the opportunity to get it right and feel the relief that comes when you do.