What would you do?
Read what happened to Karina, and imagine that it’s happening to you. What would you do in her situation?
Karina: “I was driving too fast on my way to school, and a policeman pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I was so upset! I told Mom, and she told me that I’d have to tell Dad—which I did not want to do.”
What would you do?
Option A: Keep it quiet, and hope that Dad never finds out.
Option B: Tell Dad exactly what happened.
You could be tempted to select Option A. After all, maybe your mom will just assume that you went to your dad and confessed. But there are good reasons for you to come clean about your mistakes—whether they involve a traffic ticket or anything else.
Three reasons to admit your mistakes
1. Because it’s the right thing to do. Describing the standard for Christians, the Bible says: “We wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things.”—Hebrews 13:18.
“I have worked really hard to be honest and to take responsibility for my actions—and to own up to a mistake as soon as I make one.”—Alexis.
2. Because people are more likely to forgive those who admit their mistakes. The Bible says: “The one covering over his transgressions will not succeed, but whoever confesses and abandons them will be shown mercy.”—Proverbs 28:13.
“It takes courage to admit a mistake, but that’s how you gain peoples’ trust. They see that you’re honest. By admitting a mistake, you turn something bad into something good.”—Richard.
3. Most important, because it pleases Jehovah God. The Bible says: “Jehovah detests a devious person, but His close friendship is with the upright.”—Proverbs 3:32.
“After I made a serious mistake, I began to realize that I needed to come forward and admit it. There was no way Jehovah could bless me if I wasn’t doing things his way.”—Rachel.
So how did Karina handle her mistake? She tried to keep the speeding ticket a secret from her dad. But she couldn’t keep it hidden forever. “About a year later,” Karina says, “my dad was looking at our insurance records and he noticed a speeding ticket under my name. I got in so much trouble—even my mom was angry that I hadn’t done what she told me to do!”
Lesson learned: Karina says: “Keeping mistakes a secret only makes things worse. You still pay for them later on!”
How to learn from your mistakes
The next step is to learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, some young people miss out on that opportunity! They might feel the way a teenager named Priscilla once did. She says: “I used to get overly discouraged about my mistakes. I had a low opinion of myself, so my mistakes seemed like a gigantic burden that I couldn’t carry. I would get overwhelmed and think of myself as a hopeless case.”
Do you feel that way at times? If so, remember this: Dwelling on past mistakes is like staring in the rearview mirror while driving a car. Focusing on the past will only leave you feeling worthless and make you powerless to face the challenges ahead.
Instead, why not take a more balanced view?
“Look back at your mistakes, and learn from them so that you don’t repeat them. But don’t dwell on them so much that they pull you down.”—Elliot.
“I try to view mistakes as a learning experience by taking away from each mistake a lesson that will help me to be a better person and handle the situation differently the next time. That’s a better position to take anyway because it allows you to grow.”—Vera.