Sunday, January 18, 2015

We All Make Mistakes: Finding Forgiveness

Intentional or unintentional, we all make mistakes; no one lives error-free. It is part of the human condition.
A few years ago utility worker in Arizona mistakenly tripped off an electric transmission line and cut power to 1.4 million homes. One small action caused an entire blackout in San Diego—and probably embarrassed the worker.
The thing is a mistake will most often cost you something—your time, your money, your reputation, or something else. If you miss one payment on your credit card bill, your rate will go up considerably. Ignore the fine print on a document, and you may wind up with results you never expected.
We all make mistakes; it’s what we do after a blunder that makes a difference.
We can wallow in regret. We can run and hide. Or, we can choose to learn from the mistake.  

Failure can turn to triumph when we ask God for forgiveness, receive it, and learn to discern the ways of wisdom. Certainly, we need wisdom to do things differently and make better choices, but first we need forgiveness. 

The mistake you made could have been a small oversight. On the other hand, it could have been willful disobedience, and you need to call it what it is: sin. It’s not a popular word today, but a wrongdoing against God is an offense toward him. Sin separates; it disconnects us from God. So in order to be right with God again, to reconnect the relationship, we need forgiveness. 

When we ask God for forgiveness, he extends it and opens the door to right standing with him again.  

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” That is very good news. 

Even when we mess up, God keeps right on loving us. He is constant and faithful, a loving God but also a God of justice.  

So when you feel like you’re being disciplined, it’s for a reason. Because he loves you, he wants things to be made right.  

After you’ve asked for forgiveness and he has given it, don’t keep beating yourself up emotionally. You may have done something bad, but you are not a bad person. God loves you—always. He may be hurt by your actions at times, but restoration is possible. That’s why grace is so amazing. In addition, when God forgives you, it paves the way for you to forgive others.  

Forgiveness is a gift. We need to receive his gift of forgiveness—to walk in it, to let go of the past, and to move forward.  

And, it you’ve hurt another person by your mistake you can ask God for the integrity and courage to say you are sorry and to ask him or her for forgiveness. 

Don’t keep mulling over the mistake in your mind. God forgives and forgets; we need to do the same by forgiving ourselves, walking in the truth, and thanking him for all he has done. It may take some time for your heart to catch up with your head and feel forgiven. But whether you feel it or not, the fact remains that God has forgiven you. The feelings will follow. 

Remind yourself how loving and gracious God is; he does not treat us as our sins or mistakes deserve. He treats us infinitely better. Read Psalm 103:8–12 for a good reminder about God’s compassionate heart.
Prayer for Forgiveness
Lord, I have messed up. I have sinned against you and others in making this mistake. What a mess. I was wrong, and I am sorry. Thank you for your faithfulness and that you never turn your back on me. I ask for your forgiveness. Help me to receive it, to walk in it, and to move forward by faith. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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