Learning from Past Mistakes



How did you learn your great lessons on this business called life?

Mine came out of the mistakes I had made. Many mistakes, and not just small ones but big, mistakes that made me back out into a corner and made me think how I got it all wrong when everything seemed to be so right.

Sure, I admit that the times and the seasons when I got things correctly had also taught me lessons equally great, made me happy and made me dream of repeat successes. I got enamoured with medals and awards for the right things I did, for these flew into my lap expectedly; in fact I dreamed of these to the point of being obsessed. But I had discovered too that trophies and successes may also tempt us to embrace rigid solutions for doing things, or get into patterns of thinking that rarely give us freedom to be creative. Rarely do they lead to insights nobler and more profound. Under that stupor, we seldom entertain the possibility of flops and fiascos. My more profound lessons of life are the bounteous harvest from the troubles I had sown. They, aside from hurting my person and my soul, impact me more, salving the wounded ego of one so bright who had done things so stupid.

So let’s take a little time out together to think on life’s lessons and learn from these suggestions:

Let that old person in you be banished from sight, exiled for all eternity. Be remorseful of what you were, and hopeful of what you can and will be. Repack your being. Reinvent your image. Change for the better. Be renewed.

Be loving. Be patient in loving. Love men and women in spite of their mistakes. You may have corrected them, and hurt them with your correction; so why don’t you take time out of your correcting crusade and start a loving crusade? If they have not listened to your correction, that still is no reason why you should stop loving them. Don’t get into their nerves; get into their soul by speaking of their good. Someday they will get this sense into them, for other people—not you–will surely do.

Look into yourself and look into others. Don’t compare yourself with them; compare the you of your present with the you of your past. You don’t hurt yourself this way. If you compare yourself with the other person, the critic button that you have turned off may start giving signals that maybe it’s time to criticize again.

Be resilient. That first mistake may not be the first. For a series of caterpillar wrongs will keep crawling on your being as you go through the hedgerows of this world, till your dying day. The climbing vines of sin will keep climbing and drown you in their embrace. But it is the measure of a man of God to rise over and above the dusts of his falls and misfortunes, and do it again, this time with great resolve. With Jesus, you can handle just about anything. Paul even says all things (Philippians 4:13). You cannot control life, you cannot prevent events from happening, but let God do the controlling, and walk gracefully over these unpaved paths that He has prepared for you. If you stumble, reach out for His hand. If things get so heavy, He will get half of the burden, or all of them. If your legs can’t walk that mile, He surely will carry you even without you asking Him.

Things come to an end, often unexpectedly, so enjoy the pleasant and the pleasurable that the good Lord allows you to savor. Appreciate the companionship of good men and women. Add to your life’s files photographs of men and women who did you good, who affected you for good. It may be that some of these good men and women had ceased to be, but savor the good memories of their acts, for they at one time had touched your life.

Keep partnering with brethren who opt to partner with you. Those who won’t, opt to touch their lives in some other way. Enemies will soon know how good a partner you have been. Partner as a team member, partner as a joint venture partner, partner as an advisor or mentor. With the right partnering we open doors, create opportunities, move markets for ideas, and help prepare people for the great life after this one.

Value the greatness in you. You have a lot of it; don’t discount its ability to move others. Because it is precious, spend it only to get an incredible value.

Remember your mistakes only for the better lessons they give you. Let these guide your future acts and your future decisions. Jesus has erased your mistakes and sins, transforms you and gradually molds you to be the person He wants you to be. You also have paid a great price for your mistakes, and their scars remain embedded in your being, reminding you of what you had been. They are meant to humble you, not humiliate you. They are also meant to glorify the salvific act that God has made in you. Turn your failure lessons then into something that will yield great payoffs in terms of souls touched, refined, and saved.

Like the raven in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, practice saying, “Nevermore.”


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