The Consequence of Saving Face – Matthew 14:9

Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison.

Matthew 14:8-10 NIV

How often do you find yourself making a commitment and then discovering that it was a mistake? And when that happens, what do you do? Sometimes it is appropriate to follow through on your commitment, but not always. And that is the situation Herod found himself in here.

Herod was upset with John the Baptist and had imprisoned him, sparing his life only because of the people’s respect for John. After making an ill-conceived promise to his lover’s daughter, he realized that he had been tricked into an action he didn’t want to perform; beheading John the Baptist. This was a promise that Herod should never have made, but having made it, and then realized his error, what could he do? He saw two choices: back out of his promise and lose face; or follow through with it. Killing an innocent man, a prophet of God, but saving face. It is obvious which route Herod took here.

What about you and I? Are we willing to admit to a mistake, face the embarrassment and other consequences that might come from that admission, and correct our course? Or do we just plow ahead, potentially compounding the mistake, because of our pride; in order to save face. It is much better in the long run to admit our mistakes and correct them as soon as possible. And it likely will not damage us nearly as much as we fear. Actually we will probably come out ahead in the end.

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