The Best Way to Handle Mistakes

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Oops! Road SignHow do you handle mistakes?

I’m talking about errors in judgment. Unintentional blunders caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, or insufficient knowledge.

Michael Hyatt wrote a great post titled The Difference Between a Sin and a Mistake, where he talks about his belief that our society has the tendency to make the words sin and mistake synonymous. He wrote why he believes they are not.

We are sinners because we continuously fail to love God and others the way He commanded. We sin when we disobey the commands He gave which show our love for Him and for others.

Mistakes are unintentional.

Let’s look at some places in the Bible where the word mistake is used:

Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes. Proverbs 19:2

 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. Matthew 22:29

All of us make a lot of mistakes. If someone doesn’t make any mistakes when he speaks, he would be perfect. He would be able to control everything he does. James 3:2

Examples of Mistakes

You are so focused on what you’re doing that you fail to look at the clock, and end up late for an important meeting.

You write a friend’s birthday on the wrong date on your calendar and send her a card a week late.

You grab the salt instead of the sugar and your cupcakes are inedible.

You’re in a hurry and lost in thought and pull out of a parking space right into another car.

Let me ask again. How do you handle mistakes?

A) Do you deny them?
B) Blame someone else?
C) Obsess over them for days? Beat yourself up, and declare the mistake a defining moment?
D) All of the above.

I would have to say “D.” Although, “C” would be my primary answer of choice.

It’s time for a change.

It’s time for us to apply the best way to handle mistakes.

Today’s Activity:

1. Don’t confuse mistakes with sins – Know the difference. Don’t agree with a society that prefers to call sins mistakes. Spend time in the Bible to know God’s will and commands.

2. Accept responsibility for your mistakes – Think about the last time you showed up late, messed up dinner, forgot an event, or said something you wish you could take back. Admit the mistake. Don’t blame your spouse, the kids, your friends, or traffic . . . simply accept the fact that you should have allowed more time, paid closer attention, looked at your calendar, or kept your mouth shut.

3. Don’t follow a mistake with sin – It’s often easier for us to deny, blame, or obsess over our mistakes turning an unintentional error into an intentional offense.

4. Ask for forgiveness – Mistakes can still cause relationship problems; so, be quick to not only accept responsibility but ask for forgiveness from the person on the receiving end of your blunder.

5. Learn from mistakes – The best way to handle mistakes after you’ve applied the above principles is to stop. Think about it. Ask yourself what you could have done differently. Determine to make any necessary changes to see to it that you don’t repeat the same mistake in the future.

6. Move on – Let it go. Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is that we learn from them, and choose to make the changes needed to keep a mistake from becoming a habit.

I promise – following these steps will improve your attitude. They will help you focus on growing through your mistakes and not allowing yourself  defined by them. They will help you move on and let go.

A man (or woman) must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them. ~John C. Maxwell

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