My Mom and I used to watch a silly English comedy called “Allo-Allo”. In it, one of the characters, who is an Italian general, makes this statement after doing something foolish, ” whata mistaka to make!”
For me, it has been one of “those mornings”. It started off with Emma, the cat, “singing” before the sun was up. Then on the way home from dropping my husband off at work, I got a ticket for speeding! My first traffic ticket ever! What made it worse for me was that I was actually praying (yes, with my eyes open) at the time. I was so involved in thinking about all the people I know who need prayer, that I didn’t notice the speed limit sign so I didn’t turn the cruise control off in time. Note: We need to know that doing God’s will does not exempt us from obeying the law and that we must take responsibility for our actions and pay the consequences.
Then, I went to the Adult Centre where I volunteer, and I opened up a discussion (which may have been better left alone at the time) with co-workers (who are Christians) regarding my concern, as a Christian, over a publicly funded service referring people to a medium. When one of the girls voiced a different opinion, I was very quick to throw some scripture at her. Very shortly afterward, I was convicted that I had acted like – horror of horrors – a “Bible thumper” – a self-righteous person who uses the Bible to figuratively “thump” somebody over the head with “truth”.
As Christians, we need to be able to acknowledge that we make mistakes. We need to avoid being like the Pharisee in Luke 18:10,11 who stood in the temple and basically said “I’m so good”. When we set ourselves up on a pedestal, we have a long way to fall, and we do fall.
I am a “Type A ” personality – I crave perfection. So I really hate it when I make mistakes! I used to suffer under all kinds of condemnation. After many years, I finally learned some very important truths:
1) Condemnation and conviction are not the same things. Condemnation is defined as “accusation, judgment and damnation” and comes from the devil. He is called “the accuser of the brethren” in Rev. 12:10. In contrast, conviction means “to expose and to correct” and comes from God’s holy spirit, as seen in Joh. 16:8.
While we need to be convicted of our errors, we are not to be under condemnation, for God has said in “Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
2) As Christians, we need to remember that we are not perfect “Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God…”. I was amazed to learn that even the great apostle, Paul, also struggled with the issue of sin and mistakes, “Rom 7:18 For I am conscious that in me, that is, in my flesh, there is nothing good: I have the mind but not the power to do what is right. vs. 19 For the good which I have a mind to do, I do not: but the evil which I have no mind to do, that I do.”
3) When we do make mistakes, we need to humble ourselves by admitting our mistakes, and if necessary, apologize for them. While it may be embarrassing, God tells us that it is actually good for us – Jas 5:16 Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
Finally, remember that we have a merciful and gracious God who understands our weaknesses “Psa 103:13 As a father pities his children, Jehovah pities those who fear Him. vs 14 For He knows our form; He remembers that we are dust.” And a Saviour “who’s been there, done that” – “Heb 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin. vs. 16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.