Mistakes – can’t live with them; and it seems we can’t live without them.
A few days ago I asked whether you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of wondering how on earth you arrived at a particularly terrible situation or point in your life.
Today, I have another question for you.
Ever found yourself wondering not only how you could have made such terrible mistakes, but also whether or not it’s too late to correct any of them?
If you’re having such thoughts at present, then I want you to flip them from being ‘you’ focused, to ‘God’ focused. In other words, rather than asking whether it’s too late for you to correct your mistakes, ask whether it’s too late for God to correct them.
But before going any further, I want to point out one of the most fundamental facts of life – Everyone, absolutely Everyone (yes, even that individual that seems to have life so perfectly panned out), makes mistakes – bad ones too.
In an age of social media, wherein far too much attention is paid to pictures, we often assume those with the most wonderful and beautiful pictures are living the most perfect and blessed lives. But the truth is they’re merely pictures – nothing more. We’ve no idea what’s going on behind those pictures – could be good, could be bad, but don’t fall for that old devil called ‘perception’.
Lesson number one – no matter what you’re going through, you’re not the only one that’s made mistakes.
Many of God’s greatest servants made the most awful mistakes. And yet God chose them – not only before they erred, but knowing full well they would do so.
God chose Abraham to be a father of many nations; and yet, as a result of not trusting God’s ability to bless him and his wife Sarah with a baby, Abraham would later err by sleeping with his maid-servant in order to have a child. Not only did God still bless Abraham and Sarah with Isaac, but he (Abraham) did indeed become a father of nations.
Joseph made the grave mistake of relaying his dream to his brothers; and as such was thrown into a pit for wolves to devour, sold as a slave, and imprisoned. And yet, before he was born, God had already ordained him to be Prime Minister of the most powerful nation on earth.
David not only slept with a married woman, but ensured her husband was killed in battle. And yet, he had always been destined to be Israel’s greatest king.
Moses made the terrible mistake of murdering an Egyptian. And yet, before he was born, God had ordained his ‘chosen’ servant to lead the Israelites out of captivity.
I have no idea what terrible mistakes you’ve made, but I want to assure you this morning that God chose you to be His child way before you were born; and in full the knowledge of the mistakes you would make.
Now here’s where I always get stuck.
I often wonder why God chooses certain people to be His child. In other words, what’s his criteria? But more often than not I steer my mind away swiftly in order to avoid total confusion. However, due to the importance of this message, I decided to ask – “Lord, what determines who you choose to be your child?”
“Nobody can possess the right to be my child. It isn’t something that can be earned. I have blessed the ones I chose with a heart after my own heart. They will face temptations and make mistakes just like everybody else. But when it matters, they’ll freely choose to follow and serve me.”
Lesson Number Two – stop worrying about your mistakes. Not only did God know you would make them before you were born, but he was well aware of them before He ‘chose’ you. And the fact he chose you means he’s already corrected your mistakes.
“All things work together for good, for those who love God, and are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8 vs 28
Finally, I want to share something I learned very recently with you.
Remember the story of Ruth?
She lost her husband, didn’t have any children, and literally had nothing. Ever had inexplicably crappy things happen to you? Can’t explain why, but feel sure they must be because of previous mistakes and failings?
What usually happens next?
An Anger, Resentment, and Pity party to end all parties. And the more one analyses, the more acute the anger, resentment, and pity become.
But rather than give-in to anger, resentment, and pity, Ruth chose Love – to love, protect, and serve her mother-in-law. Rather than look inwards, she chose to love the person in front of her. In other words, rather than give-in to anger, hate, envy, resentment, and self-pity, we can choose to love those around us; and by so doing, we not only become men and women after God’s own heart, but cast our cares and anxieties unto Him.
Both of my older brother’s two wonderful sons got married recently (two engagements and two weddings in the space of ten days!!!). My personal crisis moment occurred just before the first one. But because I was to be the MC at the reception of the first wedding, I had no option but to quickly snap out of my somber mood, for the sake of my family and the wedding guests. But after that first wedding the devil had a field day – goading me into the darkest pits of self-pity and resentment; so much so that I fell ill.
Fortunately the Holy Spirit led me to the story of Ruth. I’ll never forget what He told me as I read those chapters. He said, “Notice something?! Rather than give-in to anger, resentment, and self-pity, Ruth chose to love and serve her mother-in-law. Your brother and his wife need you during this period. Love and serve them.”
I’m glad I listened.
God chose you to be His child in the knowledge that you would make at-times severe mistakes.
He has already corrected your mistakes.
Dwell not on the past, but on the loving and wonderful things you can do right now.
And remember – He will never ever leave or forsake you – no matter what.