God's word in today's world

Learning from my mistakes


Life changes super-fast. I was telling my son how I became the main man among the 17 guys in our student house when I got a brand-new computer – had two floppy drives with an amber screen.

As my son’s eyes glassed over, I could see him wondering from what planet I was.

The conversation between my son and me was like a comic strip. The Dad calls his son and shows him a floppy disk (those flat plastic discs we used to store data years ago). The Dad asks the son whether he has ever seen such an object. The son comments: Oh, someone printed the save button on a 3D printer.

Times change. I don’t always know if it is for the better. Like getting a hiding.

I still remember how I let the air out from the tyres of a teacher’s car one debating evening. The bell hadn’t even gone the next morning and I already had six of the best. And no, that hiding wasn’t an isolated event. I was quite used to it.

Today, children can lay a charge against their parents for giving them a hiding for simple disobedience. And might that not be the cause of all the problems we have with discipline today?

What I actually want to say is that we shouldn’t allow everything to change. Better technology is good – we must adjust to it. But some things in our foundation must remain fixed. For example, to speak up about wrongdoing and to get rid of it completely.

Paul is also very serious about this: 20If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

Here Paul is speaking specifically to the church leaders who did wrong and how this should be addressed. But it is good advice for anyone who makes a mistake. We all make mistakes. We can learn from our mistakes not to fall into the same trap next time around. In the same way, we can learn from one another’s mistakes and prevent ourselves lots of pain and tears.

This may be a good subject for a book. Let’s compile a book in which we record all our mistakes. The title: Learn from my mistakes. This presumes that I realise that I’m fallible. I must know that the stain of the Fall is on me and that I will make mistakes. I don’t have to pretend. We all make mistakes. Actually, it’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who makes mistakes.

When we realise and admit that we make mistakes, we can be prepared for it. We can learn to be on the lookout for the holes in the road and find ways to avoid them. One way is to learn from one another.

May we never allow change and growth in the world to deprive us of good discipline. May we point out one another’s mistakes and also those of our children (in a decent way!). And may we adjust our lifestyle so that we make less and less mistakes and live more and more the way God wants us to live.

Scripture
1 Timothy 5:17-22

Reflection
Where do you make mistakes?
How should you tackle that?
Is there someone else you need to put right?

Prayer
Father, it’s not easy to admit our mistakes. It’s even more difficult to speak to others about their mistakes, but your Word teaches us that it is sometimes necessary to do, so that we can be obedient to You. Please help us correct and support one another in love when we make the wrong choices. Amen.

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