We all do bad things. We all act out of place, do something wrong, make a mistake. But, with a seemingly perfect world surrounding us, it’s hard to own up to your mistakes. We’re inundated with the notion that we must be perfect. Our Instagram feed presents flawless pictures, our report card tracks straight A’s and our room is always supposed to be neat and orderly. People who make mistakes are known for falling off the deep end. So when we do make a mistake, we hide it, play the blame game or pretend it never happened.There’s no need to be ashamed of our mistakes. They’re a natural, and a normal part of life.
Responding to Mistakes
There are many different ways we respond to our setbacks.
- Hiding from our mistakes just hurts ourselves. We’re burying the truth within, forcing us to relive our wrongdoing as we push it deeper and deeper.
- Avoiding or denying our mistakes prevents us from being our true selves, the person God created us to be. Mistakes can be small, they can be big, but if we don’t deal with them, our world will crumble.
- Pointing our finger at someone else is a ridiculous way to pretend to be a victim. There are a lot of people in the world who think they’re victims of other mistake-makers, but not a lot of people who’re willing to stand up and own their actions. We should admit when we’re wrong. We’re actually taken more seriously if we make a mistake and fess up.
Making mistakes helps us to be bold, courageous, adventurous and innovative. Too often, we’re comfortable fitting within the mold. But God has called us to greater things. We aren’t supposed to look, act or be anyone other than who God made us to be. He’s called us to something marvelous, and if we aren’t willing to step into that calling, then we’ll be making a significant mistake that could confuse our identity.
Restoring the mistake is actually a multiple-step process.
- First we have to admit our mistake.
- Then we have to apologize (especially to ourselves).
- Finally, we have to correct our mistakes.
Even if it’s a simple math problem that we missed on a test, if we don’t admit that we messed up, forgive ourselves and work through the problem, it can come back to haunt us. It’s important to see that we can accomplish what we believe we can.
Some mistakes are easy to brush off, and that’s a good thing. Some are more complicated and need a little more effort. Some are very concerning, and they need a lot of prayer and restoration.
Mistakes are an opportunity for growth and renewal. God is a God of life, not of death. Mistakes can leave us feeling weary, worn down, belittled, hurt and depressed. But, God overcomes all of that. He wants us to experience life, rejuvenation, peace and joy in the midst of our setbacks. He wants us to know that we have His stability during our fumblings.
When we make a mistake, we have something to learn, and a challenge to embrace.
Learning from our mistakes can bring about new awareness and insight. It can challenge our character, allowing us to experience a fuller expression of our identity. We gain integrity when we take the time to develop and improve ourselves.
Mistakes also help us understand boundaries, our weaknesses and our need for God. When we reach the end of what we’re capable of doing, we’re bound to make mistakes. When we enter unfamiliar territory, we’re going to slip. It’s expected and that’s okay. When we know what we’re not able to do, we can seek necessary help. We’re not being fair to ourselves if we expect to do it all. We need God to help us thrive, pick us up when we fall and mend our brokenness.
Sin vs. Mistake
Sin is turning away from God. A mistake is fumbling in life. Jesus died for our sins so we could be with Him forever. His death bridged the gap between us and God so we could have eternal life. But a mistake is simply missing the mark. Some mistakes can be sins, but some are part of humanity. We don’t turn our backs on God every time we miss a math problem on a test, forget to take out the trash or accidentally type in the wrong word in a text. But we do turn from God when we place our own selfish desires above His good intentions for our lives.
It’s important to distinguish between sin and mistake. But, it’s more important to know that no matter how many mistakes we make or how often we sin, God will always forgive us and love us. He will always restore our heart and our soul. He will always be present to help us find our path again. His love is greater than any sin, mistake or miscalculation.