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Get Back Up

Recently, we needed a plumber to come to the apartment and fix a problem. I was pleased that I was able to set up the appointment over the phone in German. I was more pleased when the plumber showed up on the right day at the right time. It meant I had understood things properly.

He arrived and went to work taking apart the plunging mechanism in the toilet. He chatted to me in German about the nature of the problem. However, I didn’t really understand what he was saying. Then he asked me a question. It sounded like “How long have you been here?” Thinking he was asking about how long I have lived in the apartment, I said “four years.” He looked confused.

He inquired again, slowly. He wanted to go out and pick up a new part so he asked, “How long will you be here?” Okay, now I understand. I assured him I could wait and off he went to get the part.

I felt like an idiot. How could I mix up the past and future tenses? It’s embarrassing to be the foreigner who can’t speak the language properly. Right then and there, I decided to stop learning German.

…Once my embarrassment passed, I remembered that this is often how we learn and make progress. German will always be a second language for me, but I can improve if I keep working at it.

We can fail in more significant ways. We sin and we fall into sinful habits. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” By ‘fall’, I think the writer means ‘sin’. Even believers – sincere Christians – fall into temptation and sin. They get up again not by avoiding God, but by going back to God and confessing their failure. Through confession, we restore our relationship with God, let him clean us up, and keep on going.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) When you fall down, don’t hide, run away, or give up. Confess and give thanks that we serve a gracious God. He’s the one who helps us to get back up and to keep on going.

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