I believe that mistakes and failures are a part of being human. They are precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way.
Have you ever made a mistake?
I’m not talking about the little ones you can sweep under the rug. A huge one. The kind that changes your life, alters your direction, makes you feel as though your world has just collapsed…and maybe it has.
You can’t go back. You can’t pretend it never happened. And in that moment, you’re utterly helpless.
I’ve been there.
But I am not alone. We all make mistakes. The problem is that most people just blame someone or something else as to why they made the mistake in the first place. I find that there are very few innocent mistakes that have happened in my life. My experience tells me that the mistakes I have made in my life have been made with clear thought of what I was doing before I did it. I either did not realize the magnitude of the results or I did not care at the time. This is true with most people.
It is sad enough that someone makes a mistake, it is worse when that mistake is blamed on something or someone else. A number of years ago, there was a popular show on television that coined the phrase, “The devil made me do it!”. It was quite popular and you heard it everywhere. The problem is that in reality the devil probably had very little to do with the mistake or failure in your life. We forget that most times in our lives, we are our own worst enemy. Take responsibility for the failure and move on. Don’t blame anyone else except yourself. If for nothing else than for putting yourself in a position to fail in the first place. We ALL have choices.
Don’t Pile On
There was a time when person made a mistake, that it was private. It never really left the privacy of a persons home or in the worst case the church lobby. But things have changed. Never before in history does the common man have instant access to spread rumor and gossip about another person. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that there is a lot of self-serving criticism these days. I am really concerned when I read the posts on FACEBOOK, MySpace and other social networks such as Twitter. It has given people immediate access to share gossip and criticism of others who have made mistakes.
According to FACEBOOK, the average member has 338 friends. I feel that number is way too low, but using that statistic, if your take in account that maybe 80% of them you don’t ever care if you talk to them or not. That still leaves somewhere around 67 people you communicate with fairly regularly. Take in account the principle of the Six Degrees of Separation (also referred to as the “Human Web”) which refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is at most six steps away from any other person on Earth. Daunting when you think about how much damage can be done by a simple word of gossip or words that tear down another person that you post on your computer.
Almost instantly, I can post something on Facebook and know that within seconds I have potentially shared it with thousands. As if the church lobby wasn’t bad enough for these things to happen, we now have brought it into our home and we can freely share in the privacy of our living room. Like a viral pandemic, it spreads through conversations and the Internet. There’s no desire to help the person who has made the mistake or help them find the answers in life they need. It’s nothing more than, No mistakes allowed. Because if you do, I will post it on my computer for all the world to see. We need to stop kicking people when they are down. We need to help those who have fallen, those who have made a mess of their life. As believer’s we need to offer the same forgiveness that God imparts on us. Be part of the solution to the mistake.
What About Second Chances?
God is about second chances. Good thing too because not a single one of us has the resume to make it on our own. We’ve all made mistakes. Huge ones. Life changing ones. They send us running down the wrong path, following the wrong leaders, seeking the wrong goals. And yet Jesus shows up to give us that second chance. And He gives it freely! It’s amazing really.
Unlike the world, God isn’t interested in what we did but who we are. He doesn’t see the mistakes of our past but the joy of our future. He can wipe our slate clean and walk with us forever. And He wants to! He actually and sincerely wants to…with all our problems and emotional baggage…and even though we’ll continue making mistakes along the way, He won’t post it on the internet.
I’ve known people who have hurt others. But when they turned to God and He gave them a second chance. I’ve known people who have lied, stolen and betrayed. But when they turned to God and He wiped their slates clean. I’ve known people who have fought God and cursed His name. But when they turned to Him, He forgave them. When they turned to Him…He saved them. Just like the white out we use to fix our mistakes when we write, God white outs our mistakes….He sees them no more.
Jesus did not come into this world with self-serving criticism. He did not come to point out our mistakes and reject us. He came to give life and hope and joy for all who believe in Him. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. (John 3:17) I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10b)
Mistakes, we all make them. No one is exempt. I think all of us wish we could erase some of the dark times in our lives created by our mistakes. But all of life’s experiences, bad and good, make us who we are. Erasing any of these life lessons would be the greater mistake. A lesson is never learned until a life is changed. Change is available for you today. God is waiting for you to just ask for forgiveness and He will forgive. New life can be found in Him.
All you have to do is ask.