We all make mistakes. They are a part of everyone’s life. Even the best of us fail more than we would like to admit, and we cringe at making the same mistakes over and over. Yet the mistakes are not really what counts, but what we learn from them. Here are some common ones I have had to face and deal with, and a suggested step forward.
First is being content with surface relationships. A pool playing friend once showed me how many friendships are like billiard balls. We never really connect in any substantive manner, but continue to bounce off of one another. “How is it going?” (Bump). “Fine.” (Bump). “What’s new?” (Bump). “Not much.” (Bump). Romans 12:9 says, “Do not pretend to love others. Really do it.” Go beyond surface conversation and practice being authentic and transparent with someone.
Second is believing one failure means you are a total failure. I was a top baseball hitter in college, averaging .344 over four seasons. But in reality, I still failed to get a hit 7 out of 10 times. Learning anything takes time, so do not get discouraged if you do not do something well the first or second time around. If you do fail, it may mean you do not have the talent needed in the specific area, or you just need more repetition. Keep in mind that if you had not tried and risked failure, you would not have known your limitations or capabilities. Romans 12:3-6 says to “Be honest in your estimate of yourselves…for we each have different work to do…God has given each of us the ability to do something or certain things well.”
Third is letting loneliness overwhelm you. I remember a few times in college when I thought I had the disease of loneliness. I was not ugly, but convinced myself no one wanted to spend time with me. No one seemed to invite me to hang out on Friday night after classes, and that made me feel more lonely. I eventually got tired of staying in my dorm room, and strayed down to one of the activity rooms in the lobby. I took interest in students playing ping-pong and my initiative was rewarded. I got so busy being interested in someone else and serving them that I forgot about being lonely. Strange, huh? Luke 6:31, 38 says to “Treat others as you want them to treat you. For if you give, you will get.”
Fourth is loving for the wrong reasons. It was easy to fall in love with Diane. She was attractive, fun to be around, made me laugh, and took an interest in me. But our friendship got too physical too fast, and I was uncomfortable with the attention and feelings of guilt.
When Scripture speaks of committed love, it is hard and conditional. Expressions of physical love are to be expressed solely in a marriage commitment. Was I going to live to please God? 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 gave me perspective and courage to put a stop to an improper practice.
Fifth is blaming others for our mistakes. It is hard to accept responsibility for ourselves, whether it be our unhappiness, mistakes, sins, or general failures. Grow up and be an adult. Part of that process is refusing to blame stuff on others and own up to the situation, address it, and move on. Proverbs 28:13 says a “man (or woman) who refuses to admit their mistakes can never be successful. But if he (she) confesses and forsakes them, they get another chance.”
Think theologically. We are all fallible human beings. Let’s profit from our mistakes (common or not), and learn to fail forward. Get some godly perspective and continue to grow to maturity.
Love is a verb,
©2017 by Mike Olejarz