Someone I know had tried very hard to arrange a special occasion but unfortunately there had been a sequence of events that caused a few things to be less than perfect. It hadn’t been a disaster and on the whole everything went off well. But she felt bad because she had put in so much effort. I told her, “Don’t worry. You win some, you lose some. That’s the way of life”. And it is, there isn’t even a faint chance that we will always do everything perfectly, even when we have experience and we know what we’re doing. I remember cooking a dinner for my 50th birthday, and the veggies just didn’t want to cook properly. Why not? I still don’t know and it’s by no means the first time I cooked. I had been driving for years when I accidentally bumped another vehicle while parking. There are so many things which just ‘happen’. I suppose if we were more careful and vigilant we would make fewer mistakes. If we never make mistakes, we would be perfect, and that has problems all of it own. Just imagine if you literally never make a mistake; how awful would the day be that you actually do make a mistake? I shudder to think of the amount of self-condemnation that would follow.
Only Jesus was perfect, so I don’t think we should beat ourselves up about little things that go wrong.
James 1:2-3, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (NLT)
We see here that James says we need to view troubles with joy. So do we need to view the loaf of bread that didn’t rise with joy? The golf putt we didn’t sink or the test we failed? How can we look at things like that, which were possibly our own fault, with joy? Shouldn’t we go and look for the cause and then meditate about it and do some self-talk so that we won’t make the same mistake again? Oh yes, and practice harder and study harder? I suppose we need to know what the cause of the problem was so that we can avoid it in future, but we shouldn’t beat ourselves up about it. In any case there are usually enough other people who are going to make us feel bad about not being perfect. But, yes, we should be joyful because, as James says here, our faith is being tested and it’s an opportunity to grow.
Romans 5:3-5, We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
If nothing else, making mistakes and having a good attitude towards them is going to grow great character in us.
I just want to qualify that I’m speaking about genuine mistakes when you have been doing your best and something just went wrong. Not when someone was slacking or didn’t care about what they were doing. But you know what? I believe that on the whole people are doing their best. It’s very easy to judge people when we are standing on the outside looking in. We need to know what the circumstances are and why people act or react the way they do. Most of the time we decide much to quickly about things which are merely perceptions and not facts.
I think we need to pray and really consult God and ask to discernment in all circumstances.
Also we need to calm down and accept that we are going to make mistakes even when we are trying hard and that if we go through our trials with a good and teachable attitude we are going to come out the other side better people than what we were.