Have you ever made a colossal blunder? A mistake so shameful you can’t even stand to look at the offender in the mirror? Personally, I wish I could say no, but I can’t. I often carry an immensely heavy and heartbreaking load of shame and frustration with my stupid self. I am haunted by the immensity of my mistakes, imprisoned by my innumerable and irreparable failures. This life has an iron clad, no take-backs policy and it is a truly disagreeable state, one in which we can all find ourselves.

However, in this infuriating and painful condition I know I am never alone, for at any given moment we are surrounded by the pain and sorrow of countless individuals drowning in their self-made pools of emotional quicksand. They are often so consumed by their shame and humiliation, they can’t even muster a voice to cry out for a much needed and desired rescue. Paralyzed without hope by the dark world of sorrow, they find themselves souring in it. Bitterness becomes the aroma of life and their hearts are completely void of hope.

Most of suffering humanity just wander aimlessly about, like soulless leftovers, who somehow managed to survive the bombs of an emotional Armageddon. They’re seeking an answer to why they’re trapped in their own personal wasteland, blinded by the flash of sharp reality, there is no one to blame for pushing the button that started the whole cascade of destruction except themselves. You see, there is absolutely no way to get away from the consequences of our words and actions. Paul wrote directly to the heart of this issue when he gave a stern warning to all of us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7) The universal law of sowing and reaping is both natural and supernatural. One of the simplest, yet widely ignored truths of our lives. In everything we do or say, there are inescapable short-term and long-term consequences, be it for good or for bad.

So what do we do when we find ourselves standing in the midst of dark and painful harvest of our own design? Own it! If we sowed it, we will reap it. Don’t start blaming others or deflecting, just step up and receive the consequence of your actions or words with some dignity and grace. “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” (Galatians 6:4–5) So, declare if you were wrong, apologize when you must, and willingly receive your portion of humble pie.

The bitterness of failure can be compounded and overwhelming when we are investing all of our energies to keep up the outward appearance that we are perfect specimens of the Christian faith, when we are not. The truth is, we never will be. We are all broken and in need of Divine rescue. Where does our help come from? In the songs of ascent we are reminded God is the help of those who seek Him, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) We must look up and seek God’s help if we are to ever navigate our way out of our own funk. Maybe then we can help someone else get out of theirs.