I am convinced that God is loving, kind, merciful, and forgiving. He is also just. We don't like to talk about the "just" part much as Christians, because, well, it's painful. It means that we have to own up to our sins and ask for forgiveness or face the consequences. Thankfully, God doesn't expect me to be perfect, but he certainly does expect me to try my best to do what's right in all situations.
I have done something that was so incredibly stupid and wrong that I am compelled to do whatever it takes to make it right, even if that includes publishing it on my blog. I have been feeling convicted about what I'd done long before it came out, but I had yet to take the steps to make it right, so I suppose this is God's way of pushing me along and encouraging me to own up to my mistakes.
I have a very good friend and mentor who told me yesterday that "the road to greatness is full of swampholes and mudpuddles". Boy, was she right. You see, I took a shortcut on the road to greatness that I deeply regret - I copied another designer's work, making very few changes and used it for my design blog. I knew better. And I still did it. I loved her site and her creativity and I wanted it for my own. So I took it. I committed it to memory and designed one from scratch almost exactly like hers. I didn't realize just how much it was exactly like hers until I saw them side by side and by then...well, you guessed it...I had reasoned in my mind that it was okay because I was in a hurry and I'd make some changes down the road, etc. etc. etc.
But anyone who is a child of God knows that it's never okay to steal someone's work. Never. My husband pointed out the fact that I'd had a warning this week on that very subject. I had a potential client contact me and ask me to duplicate one of my existing client's blogs for her to save time so that she could get hers published faster. I said no. That was wrong - my client had paid for an original design, I wasn't going to do that to her. I had an uneasy feeling about it too, because I knew that I had done that for myself. Yet I made no move to do the right thing.
So today, I'm making things right. I may lose a ton of my blogging friends and followers, and even clients because of this, but I honestly feel this is the right thing to do. Repentence is not about morals. It is not about good behavior. It is not about doing better. Repentance is a matter of the heart and we need to see our inability to change ourselves without God's help.
Painful? Yes, without a doubt. But I submit that if God can use me as an example to keep others from taking a shortcut, whether it be in designing or writing, or child-rearing...then let it be so.
And as a side note to Amy, the beautiful designer who discovered that I'd done this - thank you. Thank you for your post and I do hope you can forgive me.
To all of my blogging friends, I hope you can forgive me as well. I feel deeply remorseful about what I've "preached" against doing for so long. Can you ever forgive me?