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Mistakes Are the Price of Progress

November 2nd, 2009

“Words of the wise should be heard.” Ecclesiastes 9:17 NKJV

Good friends will help you; God’s Word will guide you.

M thoughts today consider, “mistakes are the price of progress.”

You may as well realize that mistakes are a part of life. We are imperfect people in a most imperfect world. Try to avoid them when possible, manage them when they occur, and always learn from them because you will make them. My sincere hope for you is that your mistakes are small, quickly remedied, and cause no loss to you or others. It has been said that mistakes are often the price of progress. “Learn from science. In science mistakes always precede the discovery of truth.” Author William Saroyan.

Here are a few things I have learned from my mistakes, which I painfully admit have not been as infrequent as I would have hoped. Serving in a conspicuous and public position my errors of judgment have not gone unnoticed, but thankfully have usually been viewed with understanding – even grace and forgiveness from God and people. A mistake does not have to the final word.

Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. Fear of a mistake is the surest way to make one. You will make them – some small, some not so much. Better that your mistakes are errors of judgment, rather than failure of character. No one knows everything in order to avoid a mistake, but you should be clear about obvious choices of right and wrong. Some things you should know better than to do them. Be more generous with others’ mistakes, than you require for your own.

Admit your mistakes. They are no secret, so why try to hide them; that never works. See Proverbs 28:13-14 NLT. Rid yourself of any pretension that you are incapable of making them. A mistake is rarely any surprise to those who know you well, and doesn’t typically matter to those who don’t. Failure to admit your mistake is a vain attempt to preserve an illusion than you are incapable of being wrong. Sadly, that is not true for any of us. Why waste valuable time acting as though it is? See Psalm 19:12-14 NKJV. The quickest way to correct your error is to recognize it, and go on.

Learn from your mistakes. It is not how many mistakes you make that matters; it how many times you make the same mistakes. Good friends will help you; God’s Word will guide you. Learn from your failures so you won’t repeat them. James 1:5 NLT. Welcome honest input from others you trust to only want your best, valuing their different perspective from yours, experience, and advice. Proverbs 19:20-21 NIV. No one can make every decision for you, but neither will you make those well all alone. Proverbs 11:14 NKJV.

But be aware! Mistakes always cost somebody something. That’s why you want to limit them whenever you can, and correct them as soon as possible. Don’t be cavalier about your own mistakes as though they don’t matter. They matter. If you depreciate their seriousness, you will not be as careful to avoid them in the future. Humility and honesty is the best way forward.

My prayer for you today is to learn from every mistake and always rise above failure.

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