Mistakes vary in severity and consequence. One kind of mistake is ordering the #4 when the #5 was what you really wanted. It’s another kind of mistake to have an illicit affair resulting in catastrophic consequences. It’s the latter kind I’m writing about today.
Some mistakes we pay for over a lifetime, paying over and over again. Maybe it’s our inability to let go, to get past our remorse and self-condemnation. Some mistakes can sour our reputation like a carton of milk gone bad. They leave us defeated and subdued.
Some people will punish us for our sins because they won’t forgive. They won’t stop flogging us for our errors; such is their passion for flogging. Typically, that happens because our mistakes hurt them or someone they love. Obsessively punishing becomes their purpose, turns into their white whale. It becomes their mistake.
That emotional pain, separation, and stained reputation can seem insurmountable. But, as hard as it may be, we don’t have to be overcome by our mistakes.
Suggestions For Overcoming
Clear Your Conscience. This is about humility and confession. It’s about seeking forgiveness. God forgives, but with people pardon isn’t always guaranteed. However, the first step in overcoming is in getting right with God, others and ourselves.
Develop a Support System. You might want to recruit a few respected people to be your “account-a-bill-a-buddies.” Share your struggles and ask for their counsel. Have them ask you how you are doing on a weekly basis. It can be done in person, online, or by phone. Not shoulders for comfort, but people with good minds and hearts to help you.
Learn From What Happened. Will you learn from your mistakes? Often our mistakes are influenced by the cumulative result of difficult issues; not just stupid and random carelessness. So, what needs fixing? Your relationships at home? With God? With others? Sometimes we clean up our lives by cleaning out our hearts and minds.
Bear Your Shame. This can be really hard but there’s no getting around it. After a big mistake we feel embarrassed and ashamed. We wear them like signs around our necks. We avoid going to church, or to public venues with people we know who will be there. However, you have to come out of the cave. You may feel their judgement, disapproval and their avoidance. But if you are right with God, and have made a healthy effort to make things right with others, then lift up your head and go out ad live your life. Don’t become a victim by the ill-treatment of others. Remember Jesus, Hebrews 12:2-3
“Fix your eyes on Jesus. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…Consider him who endured so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Decide to Move On. Here is something to grasp: “Life goes on, so you might as well go with it. Life doesn’t slow down to let you catch up.” I’m reminded of Paul in Philippians 3:12,14
“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward.”
Moving past our mistakes can be a gut wrenching experience and in no way do I suggest that it’s easily done or done without pain and heartache.
But it can be done. We can overcome our mistakes.