Learning From Mistakes

Ever feel like you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again? How many times do we have to make a mistake before we finally learn from it? Is it possible to make it through the day without making one? If you are like me, a little stubborn, it might be more than one time.

I’ve made many, many mistakes. Thankfully, not all of them are repeats. The good thing is we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes if we will choose to learn from them. That is how God can make good out of even bad situations. (Romans 8:28)  If we learn something, then the experience, no matter how bad, can be good for us. When studying the life of David, the Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart; he was a man that would do God’s will. Notice that it didn’t say that David was perfect and never made any mistakes. If you have read about David’s life (1 Samuel 15-1 Kings 2) then you know he was far from perfect and that he made many mistakes. Which brings us to one of the reasons we have the Bible — to learn from the mistakes of others. The Bible tells us in Romans 15:4 :

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.

Let’s unpack this verse. “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us.” Think about your experience in school. We had textbooks to help us learn from, and about, the world. We studied subjects like math, reading, history, and science. Those books were basically a history of what people discovered as they looked for solutions to problems, answers to the mysteries of the universe, cures for sickness, and technologies to make their lives better.

But when we look at the Bible, we see stories that educate us about character, choices, loving and following God, and mistakes.  The Bible chronicles the major and even sometimes minor mistakes made by those who came before us. We have the opportunity to learn from someone else messing up so we don’t have to. We have negative examples of selfishness, lying, adultery, murder, greed, corruption, pride, and many other things too numerous to list. We also have positive examples of trust, faith, truth, love, and perseverance.

“so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” If we commit to reading and following God’s Word, we can be encouraged because of the hope it provides. I can have hope that, even when I make mistakes, I am still loved and pursued by God. I can have hope that even when I mess up, I can ask for forgiveness and receive it. God loves us and wants us to make good choices and have a loving relationship with Him. He has lovingly provided His Word as a guide and communication device that gives us access to Him.

Endurance, encouragement, hope.

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