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“I TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY”

Steve Harvey is all over the news, social media, and talk shows.  Every entertainer loves publicity “most of the time”.  It is not so much fun when the publicity is a constant rehashing of a horrible mistake that was done on an international stage during the Miss Universe pageant.  Everyone knows by now that Mr. Harvey announced the wrong young lady as the winner of that beauty contest.  After enjoying the crown for a matter of moments, the crowd was stunned as were the contestants as Steve Harvey broke into the normal routine of tears, laugher, and celebration to say, “I made a mistake.  “Miss Columbia is not the winner.”  You could feel the tension and hurt of the young women (even on the news replay which is what I saw) who were wondering what was happening as well as for the judges, the crowd, the sponsors, and for Steve Harvey.

The one observation that has been constantly noted is the quality of character demonstrated by Mr. Harvey when he immediately owned up to his mistake.  He did not seek to blame anyone else.  He did not try to make excuses.  He immediately let it be known that the info was on the card and he had just not read it correctly.  Owning up to one’s mistakes is not a strong suit of human nature.  Whether a sin or failure on our part is done publicly or privately, we just don’t want to “own up” to the fact that we were “solely” responsible for our wrongdoing.

I remember a particular counseling session years ago where three of us were trying to encourage a change of personality and a change of behavior in a spouse. 

Dr. Jay Adams, in his book on direct, biblical counseling, said the purpose is not to find out why a person sinned, in order to excuse him because of a bad childhood, oppressive father, mocking friends, harsh employer. We know why a person sinned – because he is a sinner. (That kind of preaching won’t draw crowds, but it will help those who accept God’s diagnosis and seek help.)

What we need to know is what the person did – what offense she/he committed – and what must be done to correct it. So look not so much for the “why?” as the “what”?

In this particular session, one spouse had not done what the action the group had agreed on the previous week. The other spouse said, “You didn’t do what you agreed to do. You are a liar, and there is no way to go forward.” The response was, “No, I’m not a liar.”

After a couple of such exchanges, I stepped in to say, “Since you agreed to make this specific change and you did not, how would you describe the problem?” The person replied, “Well, I’m at fault.” Not a liar, but “at fault.” “I just did not do what I said I would do.” That is a word game, an attempt to call lung cancer just a chest cold.

“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:8-9 NLT).  (copied).