Caught by The 'Zon

I made an "Oops!" today.

I'm part of the Amazon Affiliate Program, which means I can earn commissions on products I recommend.

Commandment #1 of the Amazon Affiliate Program is Thou Shalt Not Purchase Products Through Thine Own Affiliate Link. It makes sense that Amazon doesn't want you earning commissions off your own purchases.

But today, I accidentally did just that. 

(If you're wondering where I'm going with all this, I promise it has a spiritual significance! Read on!)

Yesterday I was testing some of my affiliate links to make sure they went to the right place. When an affiliate link is clicked, I get credit for any Amazon purchase made within a 24-hour period. Today we needed to buy some baby formula because baby boy can eat! I completely forgot I was still within the 24-hour window and bought some on Amazon. A little while later, I saw that I received a commission from this purchase.

I panicked. What if Amazon catches this? Will they think I'm breaking their terms and shut my account down?

I immediately started scheming a way to fix this. I did a Google search for "What happens if you purchase an Amazon product through your own affiliate link?" and got back a myriad of opinions.

Some people said the worst that could happen is you won't get credit for the sale.

Others theorized that your account would be shut down.

But there was one piece of advice that stopped me in my tracks. It was something I hadn't thought of doing. It was this:

Contact Amazon and tell them you made a mistake.

"Huh," I thought. "That makes sense." But it went against my first instinct.

My first instinct was to figure out how to clean up the mess myself. Was there any way to not have this mistake come back on me?

But this person was suggesting to just come clean and accept whatever the consequence was. A novel idea!

So that's what I did. I emailed Amazon and told them my mistake. I felt better after I sent the email. Sure, I may still get suspended. But I put everything out in the open. 

I got an email back from Amazon thanking me for telling them about the mistake and that they understood. They gave me some tips on how to avoid this in the future (clearing my cache after testing links) and said they would remove that purchase from my commission.

But that was it. I was free to go.

Now, I realize this is a somewhat silly analogy.

But what happens when we make bigger mistakes? Mistakes that have more significant consequences? Do we try to deal with them ourselves and scheme up ways to fix them? Or do we bring them to God?

(I realize that now I'm comparing God to Amazon... That will make someone mad... Try not to focus so much on that part of it!)

So often, I am reluctant to go to God with my sin because I think he won't understand... Or he'll be mad at me... OR, he'll tell me to go make it right with whoever I've offended. But whatever he asks me to do, it's still better than trying to deal with the guilt myself. Going to God with my missteps is sometimes hard, but I always feel better after.

What do we do when we mess up?

Contact God and tell him you made a mistake.