Admitting or taking ownership for mistakes, our faulty actions is hard. It requires humbling oneself, confessing with genuine acknowledgement – ‘I made a mistake, I’m sorry, please forgive me. How can I put this right?’ If a person tries to cover their mistakes this often involves lying and deceptive measures, which will compound the problem and block forward progress (Prov 28:13). Refusing to admit mistakes and apologize, because of pride, will result in conflict and bitterness, with nothing being resolved. Learn from past failures. Review what happened or how you went wrong and endeavour that next time you won’t make the same or a similar mistake.
We can also learn from others, observing their lifestyle, actions and words, incorporating what is good into our lives, but guarding against making the same mistakes – we haven’t time to make them all! When someone makes a mistake that affects us, be tolerant and calmly point out how the situation could have been done better, and forgive them. Daily pray for wisdom and discernment, praising God that His mercy is greater than my mistakes.
When a mistake is made conflict often results with egos being hurt as self-esteem takes a knock; it is easy to get defensive, however accusations, blame, criticism and excuses do not resolve the issue. Wherever possible, don’t act or speak without giving the situation some thought. No one means to make a mistake, sometimes it is the outcome of making an assumption and not checking, inattention or an oversight. A deliberate intentional wrongdoing (sabotage) is very different and requires a radically response compared to when something goes wrong because of unforeseen circumstances, lack of knowledge or a genuine error.
View mistakes as learning experiences
no one is perfect and we all perform far below our potential. We need to forgive ourselves too when we fail. Work out how or why you failed, get over it and move on, yet understanding little mistakes can have big consequences. If you don’t learn from your mistakes what is the use in making them!
It is the church’s responsibility to help those in their fellowship who stumble (Gal 6:1). Preventative measures include proper connection to others in open, supportive relationships which include accountability – where there is the freedom and right to speak into each other’s lives besides ensuring we are surrounded by robust boundaries so we can can maintain integrity.
Refusing to believe in Christ is the greatest mistake anyone can make, and if they die maintaining that decision the consequences are eternal damnation (Rev 21:8).
See also: accountability, apology, blame, boundaries, church discipline, confession, consequences, error, excuses, failure, forgive/forgiveness, guilt, mess-ups, misunderstanding, ownership, reaction, responsibility, self-esteem, tolerate.