Mistakes

Blackpool Telephone Poll Tower

Importance of admitting them:

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”  – NIV GENESIS 4:6-7

How do you react when someone suggests you have done something wrong? Do you move to correct the mistake or deny that you need to correct it?  After Cain’s sacrifice was rejected, God gave him the chance to right his wrong and try again.  God even encouraged him to do this!  But Cain refused, and the rest of his life is a startling example what happens to those who refuse to admit their mistakes.  The next time someone suggests you are wrong, take an honest look at yourself and choose God’s way instead of Cain’s.

 

Do not withhold discipline from a child;

if you punish him with a rod, he will not die.NIV PROVERBS 23:13

The stem tone of discipline here is offset by the affection expressed in verse 15. However, many parents are reluctant to discipline their children at all.  Some fear they will forfeit their relationship, that their children will resent them, or that they will stifle their children’s development.  But correction won’t kill children, and it may prevent them from foolish moves that will.

Then Simon answered, “Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me.”NIV ACTS 8:24

The last time a parent or friend rebuked you, were you hurt, angry, or defensive? Learn a lesson from Simon and his reaction to what Peter told him.  He exclaimed, “Pray to the Lord for me.”  If you are rebuked for a serious mistake, it is for your good.  Admit your error, repent quickly, and ask for prayer.

 

God works despite ours:

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”NIV GENESIS 16:13

We have watched three people make serious mistakes: (1) Sarai, who took matters into her own hands and gave her maidservant to Abram; (2) Abram, who went along with the plan but, when circumstances began to go wrong, refused to help solve the problem; and (3) Hagar, who ran away from the problem. In spite of this messy situation, God demonstrated his ability to work in all things for good (Romans 8:28).  Sarai and Abram still received the son they so desperately wanted, and God solved Hagar’s problem despite Abram’s refusal to get involved.  No problem is too complicated for God if you are willing to let him help you.

 

Judah was willing to admit his, see Judah’s PROFILE.

 

Charting spiritual progress helps you avoid them:

At the LORD’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stagesNIV NUMBERS 33:2

Moses recorded the Israelites’ journeys as God instructed him, providing a record of their spiritual as well as geographic progress. Have you made spiritual progress lately?  Recording your thoughts about God and lessons you have learned over a period of time can be a valuable aid to spiritual growth.  A record of your spiritual pilgrimage will let you check up on your progress and avoid repeating past mistakes.

 

Covering them up compounds problems:

As surely as the LORD who rescues Israel lives, even if it lies with my son Jonathan, he must die.” – NIV 1 SAMUEL 14:39

Saul had issued a ridiculous command and had driven his men to sin, but still he wouldn’t back down even if he had to kill his son. When we make ridiculous statements, it is difficult to admit we are wrong.  Sticking to the story, just to save face, only compounds the problem.  It takes more courage to admit a mistake than to hold resolutely to an error.

 

Don’t repeat mistakes others made:

Then the word of the LORD came to Jehu son of Hanani against Baasha: “I lifted you up from the dust and made you leader of my people Israel, but you walked in the ways of Jeroboam and caused my people Israel to sin and to provoke me to anger by their sins. So I am about to consume Baasha and his house, and I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat.  Dogs will eat those belonging to Baasha who die in the city, and the birds of the air will feed on those who die in the country.”

As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written int the book of the annals of the kings of Israel? Baasha rested with his fathers and was buried in Tirzah.  And Alah his son succeeded him as king.

Moreover, the word of the LORD came thorugh the prophet Jehu son of Sanani to Baasha and his house, because of all the evil he had done in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger by the things he did, and becoming like the house of Jeroboam – and also because he destroyed it. 1 KINGS 16:1-7

God destroyed Jeroboam’s descendants for their flagrant sins, and yet Baasha repeated the same mistakes. He did not learn from the example of those who went before him; he did not stop to think that his sin would be punished.  Make sure you learn from your past, the experiences of others, and the lives of those whose stories are told in the Bible.  Don’t repeat mistakes.

 

Remembering our past keeps us from repeating some:

“You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and named him Abraham. You found his heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites and Girgashites.  You have kept your promise because you are righteous.

“You saw the suffering of our forefathers in Egypt; you heard their cry at the Red Sea. You sent miraculous signs and wonders against Pharaoh, against all his officials and all the people of his land, for you knew how arrogantly the Egyptians treated them.  You made a name for yourself, which remains to this day.  You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters.  By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take. 

“You came down on Mount Sinai; you spoke to them from heaven. You gave them regulations and laws that are just and right, and decrees and commands that are good.  You made known to them your holy Sabbath and gave them commands, decrees and laws through your servant Moses.  In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock; you told them to go in and take possession of the land you had sworn with uplifted hand to give them.

“But they, our forefathers, became arrogant and stiff-necked, and did not obey your commands. They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them.  They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.  But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.  Therefore you did not desert them, even when they cast for themselves an image of a calf and said, ‘This is your god, who brought you up out of Egypt,’ or when they committed awful blasphemies.

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert. By day the pillar of cloud did not cease to guide them on their path, nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take.  You gave your good Spirit to instruct them.  You did not withhold your manna from their mouths, and you gave them water for their thirst.  For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.

“You gave them kingdoms and nations, allotting them even the remotest frontiers. They took over the country of Sihon king of Heshbon and the country of Og king of Bashan.  You made their sons as numerous as the stars in the sky, and you brought them intot he land that you told their fathers to enter and possess.  Their sons went in and took possession of the land.  You subdued before them Canaanites, who lived in the land; you handed the Canaanites over to them, along with their kings and the peoples of the land, to deal with them as they pleased.  They captured fortified cities and fertile land; they took possession of houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells already dug, vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees in abundance.  They ate to the full and were well-nourished; they revelled in your great goodness.

“But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they put your law behind their backs. They killed your prophets, who had admonished them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies.  So you handed them over to their enemies, who oppressed them.  But when they were oppressed they cried out to you.  From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you have them deliverers, who rescued them from the hand of their enemies.

“But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them.  And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.

“You warned them to return to your law, but they became arrogant and disobeyed your commands. They sinned against your ordinances, by which a man will live if he obeys them.  Stubbornly they turned their backs on you, became stiff-necked and refused to listen.  For many years you were patient with them.  By their Spirit you admonished them through your prophets.  Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighbouring peoples.  But in your great mercy you did not put an end to them or abandon them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.  – NIV NEHEMIAH 9:7-38

Many prayers and speeches in the Bible include a long summary of Israel’s history because individuals did not have their own copies of the Bible as we do today. This summary of God’s past works reminded the people of their great heritage and God’s promises.

We should also remember our history to avoid repeating our mistakes so that we can serve God better. Reviewing our past helps us understand how to improve our behaviour.  It shows us the pattern to our spiritual growth.  Learn from your past so that you will become the kind of person God wants you to be.

 

Don’t be afraid of making them:

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. NIV EPHESIANS 4:15-16

Some Christians fear that any mistake will destroy their witness for the Lord. They see their own weaknesses, and they know that many non-Christians seem to have stronger characters than they do.  How can we grow up into Christ?  The answer is that Christ forms us into a body – into a group of individuals who are united in their purpose and in their love for one another and for the Lord.  If an individual stumbles, the rest of the group is there to pick him or her up and help him or her walk with God again.  If an individual sins, he or she can find restoration through the church (Galatians 6:1) even as the rest of the body continues to witness to God’s truth.  As part of Christ’s body, do you reflect part of Christ’s character and carry out your special role in his work?

 

Refusing Christ is one’s greatest mistake:

and,

“A stone that causes men to stumble

and a rock that makes them fall.”

They stumble because they disobey the message – which is also what they were destined for.NIV 1 PETER 2:8

Jesus Christ is called “the stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall”. Some will stumble over Christ because they reject him or refuse to believe that he is who he says he is.  But Psalm 118:22 says that “the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone”, the most important part of God’s building, the church.  In the same way today, people who refuse to believe in Christ have made the greatest mistake of their lives.  They have stumbled over the one person who could save them and give meaning to their lives, and they have fallen into God’s hands for judgment.

 

©Dodgsons, 1973.

 

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