Using Mistakes

For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.

Proverbs 24:16

As a child, I loved to cross streams by stepping on the stones so I would not get wet. But sometimes the rocks were so slippery that I fell in the water anyway. Mistakes can be like that-either stepping stones or slipping stones.

Think with me about two people who used their mistakes as stepping stones. A chemist invented a glue that was too weak for the specific purpose he was devoloping it for. With the “failure,” with the “wrong glue”  he developed the “stick-on” notes we now use daily. A secretary who made many mistakes typing mixed white paint and water together and created correction fluid or white-out.

It takes courage to make mistakes. In a recent poll by a leading newspaper, fear of failure was listed as the number one fear. Next time you’re afraid to try something because of  the fear of making a mistake, ask yourself, “Would  I rather fail  or never try?” If I don’t try, I’ll never know if I could have accomplished the feat or if I could think of a good use for my mistake.

Thought:  What does God call someone who falls seven times, but, rises up again to keep trying? Answer: Righteous


Misperceived Memories

When He, the spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth.

John 16:13

One of Priscilla’s more painful memories of childhood was the day her mother locked her and her younger brother out of the house for two or three hours. Fire ants stung Priscilla, so she knocked on the door, but her mother would not let her in.  Talking to Priscilla, I felt her intense anger toward a mother who could care so little for her children. How could a mother be so cruel?

A few years later, I asked Bill, Priscilla’s younger brother, if he remembered that incident. Yes, he remembered being locked out of the house for a couple of hours on a Saturday morning. But he also told me about the wonderful  surprise the children had found when they reentered the house. Their mother had transformed their home into a birthday surprise party for Bill. Priscilla had never mentioned a party. Bill hardly remembered the pain. Priscilla only remembered the pain of being left outside, unprotected.

As a counselor, I learned an important lesson from these two stories. Both people told the truth; they just saw it differently. We see truth through such clouded “glasses” that a great deal of our bitterness may be based on misperceptions. But we find health by seeking truth and forgiving both our real and imagined abusers.

Thought:  I will seek the truth-seek to forgive-today.