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One day we were walking along the beach when a man and woman came walking from the opposite direction. As they were passing us, the one said: “The mistake that we made was …” Then they were behind us and we couldn’t hear anything else. We wondered jokingly what the mistake could have been. Most probably the same kind of mistakes that we had also made.

The words: “The mistake that we made was …” sound like a refrain throughout our lives. Unfortunately not all mistakes can be undone with a “delete” button, as is the case with typing errors. The consequences of mistakes can be heart-rending. There are many people who make mistakes but refuse to admit it. It is always easy to blame others for our mistakes. People can be deceived, but not God: “It never enters their heads that I will remember all this evil; but their sins surround them, and I cannot avoid seeing them.” (Hos. 7:2). Perhaps we should cultivate the habit of first examining ourselves in situations where mistakes have been made. Or, like David did, to pray to God and ask Him to examine our hearts: Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way (Ps.139:23 – 24).

If we made mistakes we must do something about them. Of course it depends to a large extent on what the mistakes were. It may be something that only affects us personally. What may be very difficult to handle is when your actions affect other people, when they were caused a lot of grief in the process, or when your loved ones were killed, for example in a road accident. The reproach tends to recur: “If only I had driven more slowly, or … “. Where it can still be done, forgiveness must be begged in earnest from those you have wronged, and restitution made where possible. But there should also be forgiveness of yourself, and sometimes this is the most difficult thing of all.

It is also possible that you suffer as a result of someone else’s mistake. Forgiveness is again the answer, whatever has been done. As long as there is no forgiveness, you bear an additional burden. We cannot afford that someone else holds us captive in that way. To forgive means not to harbour a grudge about something or against someone any longer. That is what God does with our sins: … because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs (Jer.31:34). We must ensure that we don’t lie awake at night with a grudge-filled heart, and after years must declare: The mistake that I made was that I have never forgiven that person – it deprived  me of my joy.

Jesus appeared in the world to reconcile us with God. About Him we read to all who received him, those believing in his name, he gave authority to become God’s children (John 1:12).

We must ensure that we are not compelled one day to say something like: The biggest mistake which I have made was not to acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God, the Redeemer. Or, that I have not led my child to Jesus.


Our heavenly Father, thank you that You grant us your love, forgiveness and grace in abundance. Amen.