I recently watched a football game in which a quarterback fumbled a snap from center on a critical fourth-down play. Rather than falling on the ball, the startled signal-caller made the unfortunate mistake of trying to pick it up—knocking the ball farther behind the line of scrimmage. As he lunged for the football a second time, he inadvertently kicked it backward another 20 yards. Eventually one of his teammates ended the mishap by falling on the ball at the 2-yard line.
If you were that quarterback, how would you respond after the play?
If it were me, I might blame the center for a bad snap. Maybe I would mutter something about my teammates or my coach’s play-calling ability. His response was noteworthy. He immediately owned up to his mistake and shouldered the blame for putting his team in a terrible position. Rather than engaging in finger-pointing and causing divisions, he united his team with his ownership and displayed the kind of attitude that made a comeback possible.
We all have our own versions of fumbling the ball. Like the quarterback, sometimes we fumble unintentionally. Other times we fumble the ball on purpose. We not only say and do things that are harmful to others but we also make it difficult for others to trust us. Or we cause others to be afraid.
It’s never easy to own up to our mistakes. We all have a bit of Adam in us—wanting to blame others and even God for our mistakes (Genesis 3:11–12). But imagine the fears we can begin to calm and the trust we can begin to restore in our relationships when we own up to the “poor field position” our failures have created.