I stood in front of a room full of people early Monday morning and apologized for something offensive that came out of my mouth a week earlier. The people in the room were gracious and kind. They knew my heart and chose not to take offense. My desire to make amends confirmed for them what they knew about me. All was well.
The truth is I could have skipped the humiliation of confessing to a crowd. Most of us would have bailed on the whole thing. After all, they were gracious, understanding, and not taking offense. The confession, apology, expression of gratitude for who they were seemed unnecessary. However, who they are does not change what I need to do. Sadly, this is not the first time I have apologized for action or behaviors that didn’t line up with who I really am. It is the first time I’ve recognized the larger impact of that confession. (When I started requiring my children to apologize to everyone who was present during their missteps, I had no choice but to do the same.)
A day after my Monday morning confession, I ran into someone who was present at that meeting. He told me he probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to do what I did. Then he said something pivotal! “I learned so much by watching you do that. If I ever need to do something like that, I feel like I know how now.”
Sure, I could have skipped the whole thing and missed out on the growth and development that I personally gained. What I wouldn’t have realized is that everyone in the room would have missed out on personal growth. Being willing to be vulnerable, brave, and just grow out-loud, in-front-of others moves everyone in the room to new places of hope, understanding, and development.
Go ahead! Grow in front of others and watch them grow along side you. It turns out, confession is good for everyone’s soul!