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 | By Tina Jost

When We Mess Up: Trusting in the Mercy of Jesus

Sometimes we make mistakes — big ones. We chose to do something, despite knowing if it was wrong or hurtful, and we did it anyway. Occasionally, we hurt others with our irrational behavior or vent our frustrations on them. St. Paul captured this so perfectly when he said, “What I do, I do not understand. For I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate” (Rom 7:15)

We are sinners, and we make mistakes. What can you do to make it right after acting atrociously? The first thing to do, always, is to pray. Turn to God in trust and tell him what happened. Ask God to help you to take the next best step. If you need to, apologize and realize that the other person may or may not forgive you. You chose to behave poorly, and once you apologize, it is up to them to decide their response.

If you have tried to reconcile and the other person shuts the door, you must respect their boundaries. Hopefully, you can learn something from this that will help you make better decisions in the future. Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I prevent this from happening again?” When you find yourself thinking of the situation, immediately turn to God and offer a prayer or make a sacrifice for the person you hurt. Ask your Guardian Angel or the Blessed Mother to help you or pray a Hail Mary.

Is there anything else you can do? Go to reconciliation and ask for forgiveness. Jesus, in his kindness and mercy, will forgive you as he always does. Now, does that mean that everything will be right with the other person? Maybe it will, but perhaps it won’t.

Fortunately, Jesus is the king of mercy. During the Easter season, we are constantly reminded of Christ’s unbounding mercy. His tenderness and love for each of us sinners is unimaginable. We may agonize over past wrongdoings, but Jesus can heal what is broken.

When he rose from the dead, Jesus said, “Peace be with you … [Jesus] said to them again ‘Peace be with you’” (Jn 20:19, 21). He knew the apostles dealt with sin, fear and shame, so he gave them his peace. When we are shaken by our sinfulness, we must run to Jesus to have peace in our souls also.

Jesus told St. Faustina Kowalska that “mankind will not have peace until it turns with trust to my mercy” (Diary 300). Even if we can’t undo our past wrongs, we can fly to the Heart of Jesus and ask him for mercy. When we go to reconciliation, we trust in the healing and love only God can provide. “I am certain that even if I had on my conscience every imaginable crime,” St. Thérèse of Lisieux tells us, “I should lose nothing of my confidence; rather I would hurry, with a heart broken with sorrow, to throw myself into the arms of my Jesus.”

We are imperfect, sinful beings, and we know this. So, we try earnestly to live more faithfully in the commandments that God has given to us with grace and with the sacraments. We can learn from our mistakes and work harder to do the right thing, to become more like our savior who gave everything for love of others.

This change of heart is what conversion is all about. By picking ourselves up each day and starting again, we can learn to say, “Jesus, I trust in you!”

Tina Sciaroni Jost is a writer and life coach who works with women. She is a parishioner at Stella Maris Church and lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband. Visit