To make a long story short, I disappointed some of my kids over the weekend. The details don’t matter, what matters is that as their imperfect, flawed, human father, I messed up. And, as I’ve taught them since they were little, I owned up to it. I swallowed my pride, called them up and said “My bad, my fault.”

“My bad, my fault” is a quick way to diffuse a situation and open up a dialogue for understanding, forgiveness, and grace. It is also a way to be accountable for the part you played in hurting someone else, regardless of how big the part was. These four words can immediately bring down the tension in an argument or misunderstanding and can put you back in control of the situation.

“My bad, my fault” is not losing an argument. It is not rolling over. It is accepting responsibility for your actions and taking the first step to rectifying the situation. You are not admitting defeat; you are not even saying that everything you did was wrong. You’re simply saying that you acknowledge that something you did caused pain or confusion in someone else, and you’re committed to fixing that.

“My bad, my fault” shows the person that is hurt that they can trust you with their feelings. Stepping up to take accountability for your actions builds trust, and as a result, strengthens your relationship. It is hard to do at first and requires swallowing some pride, but it is a clear indicator that their feelings matter to you.

I knew my kids would forgive me; they always do, because they are great people who strive to love and live like Jesus. We mess up a lot, but seeing the way they offer grace is a sign Antoinette and I have done something right.

Action steps for accountability:

This week, when you find yourself faced with a problem or conflict, be the first one to say “my bad, my fault.” Watch how it immediately shifts the conversations and paves the way for trust, accountability, and progress.