Pitcher Armando Galarraga was ONE out away from something that has only happened in the lives of 20 other men in history. A perfect game for a picture in Major League Baseball.

After getting the first 26 batters out in dominant succession, one batter stood in his way. The 27th batter hit a quick grounder to the right side and Armando covered the first base bag like he should have to record the final out.

The only problem – the Umpire called the runner safe thereby denying Galarraga of a perfect game even though TV replay clearly shows the batter was out. Consequently there would be no perfect game for this young pitcher.

The stories flooded the papers and Television for the next few weeks about the umpires botched call. Even the umpire came out immediately to confess that he messed up the call.

It’s one thing to mess up in private. It’s an entirely different thing to mess up in front of thousands of fans and then millions of Television viewers.

Yet as Christ followers our mess ups rarely go unnoticed. I bet we all feel the sting of losing our witness every once in a while. Maybe even today you really blew it in front of friends/family/coworkers and it made “headlines” in your sphere of influence.

One thing to remember as Christians is the target is always on our back.

Sometimes we complain about that fact, but I think it helps us. While others watch us mess up it keeps us grounded to the fact that we aren’t perfect. We won’t be perfect this side of heaven. And the best thing we can do when others see our imperfections (and even if they don’t see them) is very simple and very God-honoring:

1. Confess you messed up.
Proverbs says: “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy. Proverbs 28:13

2. Learn from it.
The book of Titus tells us that God’s grace is our TEACHER! It teaches us to say no to what we later regret. (Titus 2:10)

3. Let God get glory from it.
God is in the business of taking our worst mistakes and making them into something beautiful. Consider that Solomon was born to the woman David initially committed adultery with. Though David would have to pay dearly for his devastating mistake – Solomon would become one of the wisest kings in history.

4. Move on.
Stop dwelling on your mistake and press on toward the goal of Christ. You won’t win anyone over by living in shame. Instead make it even more a priority to shine the light of Christ in good works that when others see them – they will praise your Father in heaven!

Special thanks to Rick Warren for the inspiration on this post!