Learning From Mistakes
I work at group home for developmentally disabled adults. I love the job because it has taught me essential truths in life. One of the truths I saw the other day was that I need to learn from my mistakes. Allow me to share the story with you.
It was about 7:40 am and Tony (named changed) came to the kitchen in his pj’s. He then began cooking some eggs and bacon for breakfast. He started to pile bacon into the pan and I had to remind him that we needed to save some bacon for the other guys. This sent him off the deep end. He was yelling and swearing at me because he wanted more bacon. He eventually went to his room. A little while later I went to go check on him and guess what Tony was doing? He was preaching to a fake congregation on not being angry. He even had his Bible in his hand telling people that they need to ask for forgiveness when they yell at others. Tony came out dressed for the day and asked me to forgive him. I did and he gave me a big hug.
This was an amazing story because of the not only did Tony ask for forgiveness he learned from his mistake. He understood that he was in the wrong and apologized. All of us need to do this. We need to learn from the times we screw up. We need to learn from our sin. That makes us better followers of Christ. I really like how Proverbs 24:16 portrays this:
“For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”
God understands that the righteous man is going to fall but the great thing is that he gets back up. While the unbeliever will stumble when tough times come. We get opportunities to learn because we know that God has made us righteous. And as we need to learn from our mistakes there is a way to learn without even making mistakes and that is by learning from others mistakes.
Edmund Burke wrote, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” He has this right! If we are not paying attention to our past then we are destined to make the same mistakes that earlier generations made. The Word of God speaks to this in the Old Testament. God does a miraculous act and the Jews turn from him to false gods over and over again. But even more than that the New Testament speaks to this in 1 Corinthians 10:11:
“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”
This passage is speaking to Christians about learning from the past. There are hundreds of examples that we can look to in Christian history and outside of it and learn. This is an essential part of the Christian life.
We should “live and learn” but even better than that “learn and live”.