“That dumb bus driver took the wrong ticket! I had to go and buy another one to get home again. I sure wasn’t happy about all that; when I got back to the city I went to the ticket counter and told them the story. They said they’d talk to him.”
I tried to wrap my mind around my friend’s tale of woe, but something wasn’t computing. She had a one way ticket from City A to City B. She bought a ticket to bring her back from City B to City A. The driver who took her from A to B had collected the return ticket instead of the one he should have, so when she got to B she had to buy another one to come home on – and she still had the ticket from A to B to use some other time. So far so good.
But then it got complicated. “So you handed him both the tickets and he tore off the wrong one?”
“No I didn’t hand him two tickets. He took the wrong one. Stupid bus driver. He should have watched what he was doing.”
“So how did he get the wrong ticket?”
“When I handed him my ticket he didn’t say anything. He looked at it and then took it.”
“You handed him the ticket from A to B when you boarded the bus and he took it, but how did he get the ticket from B to A?”
She was getting a little exasperated with my dense questions. “That’s the one I gave him, but he wasn’t supposed to take it.”
The light dawned. “So you handed him the return ticket instead of the one you should have.”
Now she was annoyed. “I just gave him a ticket; I figured if it was the wrong one, he’d give it back. He looked at it and he should have known it was the wrong one. He probably did know, but he took it anyway. He should have asked me for the right one.”
Yes, he should have, and just what went on in his mind – why he accepted the ticket as presented – I don’t know. But the picture was clear in my mind now: the bus driver was stupid because she gave him the wrong ticket and he took it.
I tried to give the poor driver the benefit of the doubt. “Maybe he thought one ticket would be as good as the other?”
But she would have none of it. He knew better; he knew what ticket she should have been handing him – and why didn’t he tell her? Why did he look at it so closely and take it anyway? Suspicious by nature, of course she questioned his motives and assumed they were dishonest.
Some people live their lives this way: whatever goes wrong is someone else’s fault – and of course the other person did it deliberately. Thus they go through life fuming at almost everyone for causing them so much trouble.
People like my friend need to make new friends all the time because they’re constantly alienating their old ones, also because they are too self-absorbed to be a good friend. Eventually folks around them catch on to their attitudes and avoid them or give them a quick brush off, so they end up spending most of their time alone. With lots of time alone to think, usually they get more bitter and suspicious every day.
This “Never my fault” attitude runs counter to the Bible way, where we’re told to confess our faults and do our best to live at peace with our fellow men.
“A true Christian is marked by his willingness to admit his wrongdoing and then to ask God and others to forgive him.” (H.G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread, June 1977.)
One of our pastor friends put it this way: “A Christian has an amazing capacity to be wrong.”
Sounds awful! Not to DO wrong, but to ADMIT wrong. To allow for the fact that I may well be wrong.
Our Heavenly Father gives us the grace to swallow our pride and confess our mistakes, to admit that we may not have understood the whole situation. He reveals to us how inclined our earthly mind is to misjudgement and selfishness. As we walk the Christian pathway we see more and more how our best intentions have been tainted by our own deep-seated prejudices.
Then He takes us even farther and tells us that others can see our faults better than we can ourselves. He sends someone to us with a reproof and gives us grace to hear what our fellow Christian is saying – to sit on all our arguments and excuses and just LISTEN – then bring the matter to Him with a “search me and try me and see if there be any wicked way in me” openness. Even if we don’t believe there’s a speck of truth in what we’ve been told. Because there just MAY BE.
(Been there; done that. Found out there really WAS truth to what my sister in Christ was saying. ☹ But that’s another post. ☺)
“I’m Sorry, I was Wrong.”
There may be virtue in the man who’s always sure he’s right
Who’ll never hear another plan and seeks no further light;
But I like more the chap who sings a somewhat different song,
who says when he has messed up things, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”
It’s hard for anyone to say that failure’s due to him–
that he has lost the faith or way, because his lights burned dim.
It takes a man to cast aside the vanity that’s strong,
confessing, “Twas my fault; I lied. I’m sorry, I was wrong.”