The Power of a Mistake

You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them. (Proverbs 28:13 MSG)

Every priest goes to work at the altar each day, offers the same old sacrifices year in, year out, and never makes a dent in the sin problem. As a priest, Christ made a single sacrifice for sins, and that was it! Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. By that single offering, he did everything that needed to be done for everyone who takes part in the purifying process. The Holy Spirit confirms this: This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time “I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.” He concludes, I’ll forever wipe the slate clean of their sins. Once sins are taken care of for good, there’s no longer any need to offer sacrifices for them. (Hebrews 10:11-18 MSG)

Have you ever made a mistake? I'm sure the answer to that question is 100% yes. It's really as simple as answering the question, "will everyone die?" One hundred out of one hundred people die, however, for the sake of all the bible scholars reading this I do know that two people in history did not die. Enoch and Elijah. Gotcha. So, let's move on.

Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:24 NIV)

As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. (2 Kings 2:11 NIV)

Since we can easily conclude that no one is perfect we must now determine that a right response to mistakes is imperative. I was recently asked how I am dealing with my mistake, my failure, every day. I replied, "I currently get up every day and try not to make another mistake." It's not the healthiest approach to life but after a major "slip up" like mine it's the best that I can do today. Oh, and by the way, I have succeeded at a couple of subsequent slip-ups since "the sin".

I recall getting my first speeding ticket at 16 years old. I knew that my parents were going to be really upset and they didn't disappoint. I even remember the name of the state trooper that issued my citation (the name has been withheld to protect the innocent). For many months after that traffic stop I drove with substantial fear. I knew that too many tickets would cause my insurance premiums to go up and even worse I could have my license suspended. With my parents constantly looking over my shoulder and the law breathing down my neck it was certainly a horrible season for a sixteen year old. The joy of driving, and the independence that it once provided, was momentarily lost as a result of my sin of speeding.

Mistakes put us in a defensive posture. They actually pit us, against us. Rather than pursuing the greatness of God we awaken morning after morning to fight the weakness of our humanity. Rather than looking ahead at future possibilities, our mistakes cause us to focus on our past. Everyone seems to expect me to make more mistakes. I, like most people, will not disappoint. The difference?  Most people’s mistakes are invisible because we are not looking for them, mine are not.  I know that this is only a season. I'm not even saying that it's wrong. I'm simply making a painful observation. I know that this too shall pass.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV)

In this momentary troubled season of my life I am "being made holy." I'm a work in progress. We all are. One mistake, okay any and all mistakes, will never create a heavenly work stoppage in our lives, not in God's eyes. The God who began this work in me will complete it. The Message version of Philippians chapter one, verse six renders it this way:

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. (Philippians 1:6 MSG)

My future, and I believe that I have one, requires that I place all my confidence in this scriptural truth. I know that the difference in confidence and arrogance are often difficult to distinguish so I want to be very careful to not give anyone the impression that I'm ever behaving cavalier in response to my sin. But, I must never give myself permission to wallow in self-pity and I believe confidence to be the "soul" antidote to this human condition.

I'm tempted almost every day to fall prey to a mindset of "less than". Nobody has demanded that of me but I do feel that it is often implied that I should do so.  I regularly feel that any uncertainty or weakness, that I might possess, makes those angry with me a little happier about my pain. Just being honest. So, I hang on tightly to confidence in God and His promises.

Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God's unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]. (Hebrews 4:16 AMP)

One last thought for today. Mistakes create a "don't lose" mentality instead of a "let's win" attitude.  Life was not given to us to preserve but to live. I choose to do so. The true power of a mistake is seen in our healthy response to the mistake itself.   

It's easy to look back and "know", 

But I must look ahead in order to grow.


 If I stay focused on my past sin, 

There will never be a future and possible win.


So with great passion and heart I arise,

I will press ahead toward my earthly and heavenly prize.