My wife’s sewing machine Instruction Booklet has a Troubleshooting section: condition, cause, reference page. For example, “the needle thread breaks.” Six possible causes along with reference pages are listed. The manufacturer assumes two facts: minor glitches may happen and the consumer can be guided to and through a solution.

Here’s a classic troubleshooting section of the Bible: “If we admit our sins, He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” Notice—our Father assumes that we’ll screw up. “The Lord is as kind to His followers as a father is to his children. He knows we are made of dust.”[1] Case in point: Peter. In the Upper Room Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with You. I’d go to jail for You. I’d die for You!” However, in the Courtyard a few hours later he crumbled: “I don’t even know the Man!”

If we admit our sins….” The first step in problem solving is identifying and admitting the problem. Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous is: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…” If the problem is objective, acknowledgment is rather easy. However, it’s a different story if the malfunction is personal. Did you ever watch a young child in the throes of owning a failure? It can be rather humorous.

“He can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away.” The Screw-Up in Luke 15 experienced this firsthand. “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned ….’ But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. We’re going to celebrate!’”