Noting, learning and improving

Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 19:00

Life does not require that we be perfect — it requires only that we grow, and we can do this as well from a mistake as from a success.

No two people described in the Bible would know that better than David and Peter. Both present excellent examples of how to handle errors and mistakes. In our pursuit of the truth, it is always preferable that we are willing students, but if circumstances impose the truth upon us, it is likely to be much more traumatic.

Sometimes the errors or mistakes we make are a result of very poor judgment. Isaiah 28:7 refers to error that occurs because of self-indulgence. The word “erred” is used in that passage and refers to an inclination to go astray, meander or swerve. We make calculated decisions and they bring expected results.

In Isaiah 28, God is talking about both the spiritual and physical consumption of worldly pleasures to the exclusion of the truth, direction, purpose and clarity.

“All men are liable to error; and most men are, in many points, by passion or interest, under temptation to it,” (Educators and philosopher John Locke, 1632-1704).

We must look into the ramifications of our liberty and then hold ourselves to it daily (James 1:25). Personal accountability is very much like keeping your glasses clean — it helps you to see things and people much more clearly. If you do not hold yourself personally accountable, then you are probably looking at everything through tinted glasses.

Personal accountability is of little use unless we take the steps to change things for the better. David had, through the prophet Nathan, been held accountable for his actions (II Sam. 15:20). He did not blame anyone else. He accepted the consequences of the abuse of his liberty. Once the matter was resolved, he took the steps necessary to recover. There are many examples in the Bible that the greatest days lay ahead for those that do not give up or stall out spiritually in the face of setbacks.

It is challenging enough to forgive others, though it is something we must do. But how difficult it is to forgive ourselves for the many mistakes we have made and the many hurts we have inflicted.

In Exodus 14, the nation was on the brink of a self-imposed disaster. The answer was to pick up one foot and then the other, get over their fears and failures, and start moving forward again (Exodus 14:15).

Personal accountability means stop blaming others, stop blaming yourself and start taking responsibility for your actions. Making things right means taking control of what is taking place through personal accountability so that we exercise our choice to walk in liberty. Getting on with things means we leave disappoint, sorrow and condemnation behind.

It means noting what has happened, learning from it and improving.

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