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I Screwed Up – Part 1

I Screwed Up – Part 1

A significant storm blew down a large oak tree. It happens. Unfortunately, this tree landed on the roof of the garage at our ministry’s retreat center. It caused significant damage, over $4,000 worth of damage. It was a pain in the neck to cut up the tree and then have the garage repaired. Fortunately, insurance paid for the damage.

Now fast forward 4 months. Four other trees around the garage had died. If they were to fall the wrong direction they too would cause damage to the recently repaired garage. The sensible option was to cut them down before they fell down. At least we could control the direction of their fall.

A local pastor had previously been a professional arborist. He had cut down hundreds of trees with his business. Being very supportive of our ministry, he volunteered to remove these dead trees for us. A member of his church owned a backhoe which they could use to push the trees away from the garage. They knew one tree had fallen on the garage and they certainly didn’t want a second one to smash the new roof.

After surveying the location of the trees, the type of trees, how long the trees had been dead, etc. the pastor felt comfortable he could safely cut down the trees. In fact, the job was so easy he opted not to use the backhoe.

I’ve cut down some trees with a chain saw and it takes skill to lay them down in the direction you want them to go. The first two trees proved this guy had skill. The third tree, not so much. I received a phone call from him. He simply said, “I screwed up. One of the trees I cut down landed right on top of the garage. I can give you several reasons of what caused this but I won’t. I just screwed up and I’m sorry.”

I discovered that:

  1. Insurance will cover acts of God but it won’t cover stupid acts of man.
  2. This mistake cost us $4,000.
  3. It’ hard to be angry when someone offers a sincere apology.
  4. I appreciated the fact that no excuses were made.
  5. It’s healthier to admit you screwed up than to hide in the shadows.
  6. As believers we break down the walls of hypocrisy when we admit our flaws.
  7. It’s always easier to hear someone else say they’ve screwed up than to be the one to utter those words.
  8. We all have to practice what we preach.

Yup, I screwed up too. I’ll tell you more about that later. Until then, begin to practice saying, “I screwed up. I’m sorry.”

Be sure to come back on Thursday to check out part 2 of Jerry’s post “I Screwed Up.” In the meantime, take a minute to enjoy another infamous “screw up” moment compliments of Youtube:

Jerry Higley
Executive Director at Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ
Jerry Higley is the Executive Director of Lebanon Valley Youth For Christ and an adjunct faculty member at LBC teaching Student Ministry courses at both the undergrad and graduate level. When he's not at work, he loves spending time outdoors hunting and fishing with his grandkids.