Around six months ago, I wrote on the topic of “mistakes.” I hope and pray that it was interesting to you! I am writing on the subject again because of its personal relevance to all of us (I’m confident that mistakes have been made since that last article!). Also, I have some more to offer on the subject. So, here goes!
Mistakes are reality. I know that we would rather appear “mistake-free” to everyone, but that fact is we do make mistakes (every one of us). Opportunities are everywhere to make mistakes everywhere (home, church, work, school, etc.). If we look closely and honestly enough at ourselves, we will admit that we have probably made mistakes in every one of those settings at one point or another.
Mistakes are sometimes unexplainable. There are times when we just can’t figure out how or why we made the mistake. We knew what we were supposed to do. We were paying attention. We were giving our best effort. Still, the mistake happened.
Let’s consider mistakes “after the fact.” What do you do when you make a mistake? What is your reaction? Now, this is something important to think about. Your response after a mistake may (and likely will) determine your recovery (or not).
Different people have different ways of handling personal mistakes. There are some common (yet wrong) reactions to be considered.
First, they deny it loudly. I’m reminded of Rafael Palmiero’s (a MLB player linked to the steroid scandal in baseball) testimony before congress where he emphatically stated: Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never (Wikipedia). Before the year was over, Palmiero had been suspended because he tested positive for steroids. Of course, the most famous denial that I can think of is Peter’s. He started by denying any association with Christ (Mt. 26:70). You might say that was a significant mistake! Then, instead of correcting his mistake, his denials only increased in intensity until he was cursing and swearing that he didn’t know Jesus (Mt. 26:74, Mk. 14:71).
Second, they cover it up. The victory at Jericho for God’s people always has a dark cloud connected with it. Achan took some of the spoil from Jericho (which had been forbidden to be taken-Joshua 6:18) and hid it under his tent (Joshua 7:1, 21). I find myself wondering at Achan’s mindset. What was he thinking? Was he thinking? How did he expect to enjoy the stuff he took? He couldn’t exactly parade it around the camp. I guess he thought that he could just enjoy it privately. Did he think that since his mistake didn’t exist anymore simply because it was out of sight?
Third, they blame someone else. Adam and Eve were caught red-handed by a Just, All-Knowing God Who simply asked [h]ast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? (Gen. 3:11). That’s a simple, direct question. It is interesting to watch how Adam and Eve squirmed. Adam pointed at Eve (Gen. 3:12). Eve pointed at the serpent (Gen. 3:13). Adam was even audacious enough to point at God (The woman whom thou gavest to be with me-Gen. 3:12).
Naturally, it is easy to see the foolishness and futility of handling mistakes in these ways. Allow me to press the seriousness of it upon you. Handling mistakes like this can also be fatal.
In this coming week, I would like for you to carefully consider and evaluate your reaction(s) to mistakes. Do you deny them loudly? Do you try to cover them up? Do you constantly point at someone else (even God)?
To Be Continued