To Err is Human…

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We all make mistakes. It’s just a part of being human. Sometimes we say the wrong thing, make the wrong choice, forget, or simply run out of time. We can’t expect to be perfect, and we can’t place unrealistic expectations on others, either (for more on this you should check out this post).

Yet, how often we feel like failures when we don’t get things right. I recently finished reading Gloria Furman’s, “Missional Motherhood,” and in it, she reminded me that we need to be careful with what we call “failure.” She states, “Things that are part of our design–our need for others in community, our physical limitations, being embodied in an ‘earthly tent,’ and our lack of knowledge–are not failures. We have no need to repent of those things, for this is the way God designed us” (Missional Motherhood, p.124).

We must beware, Furman goes on to state, because “we often [mistakenly] place worldly blunders on the same level as unholy sins” (pp. 124-125). Mistakes due to our humanity are not the same as down-right rebellion against God. Our neediness and weakness points us to Christ; it’s why He created us this way; that we would be dependent on Him. Our sin, on the other hand, draws us away from God; the bible calls it enmity (James 4:4), in which, we’re spiritually at war with Christ. Sin requires repentance.

Therefore, when we make mistakes, the only thing we can do is acknowledge it–apologize, if we hurt someone in the process–and attempt to prevent it from occurring again. I love the quote above, attributed to Alexander Pope, “To err is human; to forgive, divine,” because it takes supernatural power to forgive ourselves, or others, when mistakes are made. Whether we have to walk in humility because we messed up, or offer grace to another, because someone unintentionally hurt or disappointed us, it’s only by His Holy Spirit that we do so.

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I Am Peter

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down you life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:36-38)

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger this was me. “I’ll never do that!” I’d state. I learned over time, that it’s much easier to say that, until your life, future, or image is on the line. It’s so easy to fall, fail, or make a life-changing mistake; it happens in an instant! Often one moment of weakness leads to another, and yet another, until you’ve learned to block out the voice in your head telling you to stop for a moment and think about the consequences of your actions.

Peter thought he’d never disown Jesus; he’d lay his life down for Him! He loved Him! But in a moment of weakness–and fear–Peter denied the one he loved and slunk off into the shadows, ashamed, and full of bitter sorrow. Just as Peter wept over his shame and weakness, I’ve found myself in the same sorrowful predicament. I may never have outwardly spoken my disowning, but my actions certainly never showed that God reigned supreme over my life, or that I was His follower.

And yet, just a few chapters later, in the book of Acts, Peter preaches to a crowd of strangers that Jesus is the Messiah; a powerful, Holy Spirit-filled message of truth, love, and repentance! Peter becomes the leader of the early Christian church!

It is so easy to fall. It’s so easy to feel like it’s the end of the world and that God can’t use us because of our failures. But time and time again, He’s shown in His deed and word that He can use us! That His plans for us are solid and good and purposeful!

My experiences have taught me mercy and grace and compassion for my fellow man. They’ve taught me that when you make a mistake you have to fall upon your face before God admitting them. And they’ve taught me that sin is sin. I can’t sugarcoat what I’ve done, I can’t say that it’s okay for some people, but not for others; because it shouldn’t have been done, period. It’s wrong and it will always be wrong. I was wrong!

I am Peter. I may have fallen, but God has picked me up. What He’s got planned for me, I have no idea. What He’s taught me, is immeasurable. But every day I ask Him for another chance. Another chance to show Him that I love Him; another chance to show Him that I can be and do what He’s created me for; and another chance to accept any present and/or future responsibilities that He chooses to bless me with.

Hypocrisy

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, but of all the things flying around in there, the term “hypocrisy” has been popping up more and more. And I thought to myself, “Most people don’t really know the definition of this word, although, they like to throw it around quite a bit.”

I’ve been slapped in the face with it a lot recently; I think it’s because of all the recent political discussion, and because the devil’s really been accusing me the last couple days (if not years…smh). Funny thing is, what he says…is all a lie.

What hypocrisy is, is when someone living a sinful lifestyle tries to tell others to turn away from their sinful lifestyle…A “do as I say, not as I do” approach. That’s why Jesus told people…”Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that [is] in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that [is] in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye (Luke 6:42).

What hypocrisy is not, is when someone has made their mistakes (because no one is perfect and we all fall short, Romans 3:23), turns away from their sinful lifestyle, and then encourages others to do the same. Therefore, just because we’ve made mistakes in our pasts—perhaps we still struggle with such things—that doesn’t make us hypocrites. It’s only our refusal to acknowledge our mistakes, repent, and turn away from them that creates hypocrisy.

“But it’s so hard!” You’re probably thinking. You’re right, it is hard; that’s why we were never meant to do it on our own. That’s why when we turn from our sinful lifestyle we must turn toward something else…Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2).

King David is one of my most favorite men of the Bible. Why? Because David, fell…HARD. But what did he do? He repented, turned away from his sin, and turned towards God. However, even King David, a man after God’s own heart, couldn’t confront his son Amnon, before/when he fell because David was ashamed of his own past (2 Samuel 13).

I don’t want to be that person. Yes, I’ve made poor choices, and not a day goes by that I don’t regret those choices;  but I don’t want to believe the lie that I’m a hypocrite just because I want to discourage others from making the same mistakes. I don’t want my own fear and shame to keep me from sharing the wisdom I’ve gained over the years.

I REFUSE to let my own fear and shame keep me from sharing with others (and neither should you!). So, call me a hypocrite if you want, but I know the truth. God uses my mistakes and failures for His glory and purpose.

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. (Isaiah 61:3)