“MISTAKES AND CORRECTIONS” By Pastor YAU
Text: Proverbs 9:7-12; 2
1) Recognize mistakes: Famous cancer researcher Dr. Robert Good was a hard-driving scientist with enormous faculty for new ideas. He had the ability to make use of any information he came across. However, the most impressed statement credited him “with a willingness to recognize any error in his research and made correction faster than anyone else in medical research.” One of his associates said, “Dr. Good never gets married to his hypothesis, so he doesn’t go through the pangs of divorce when one is proven wrong.”
2) Make corrections: The Scripture reference today from Proverbs 9:7-12 puts a high premium on such a willingness to see one’s error and admit it. It describes a wise man as one who is willing to learn from his mistakes. When challenged, he resists the urge to get his back up like a threatened tomcat. Instead, correction becomes a faithful friend and a necessary means to improvement. On the other hand, when a scoffer is rebuked, he responds with anger and hatred. Because of his over inflated ego, he won’t listen when told he has made a mistake.
THE PROBLEM OF MISTAKES:
1) It is part of being human: Even though some may use this sentence as excuse for making more mistakes, the statement is true to all people, young and old, rich and poor, educated or illiterate and everyone else in between. No one in human history has ever lived a life that is without mistakes. On one hand this fact gives us some degree of comfort when mistakes are made. On the other hand, it should humble all of us that we are all capable of making mistakes. For anyone to claim or think he has never made any mistake is beyond honesty or reason.
2) Some are honest mistakes: Most of us have made honest mistakes because we lack wisdom and ability to foresee the future. We can only guess and sometimes our guessing is not good or right enough and mistakes are made. Honest mistakes are still hurtful. They still hurt those who made them and people close to them. Although honest mistakes are inevitable, we suffer consequences because of that. Seeking guidance of God and advices of man may reduce the chances of honest mistakes.
3) Others are willful ones: Due to the evil nature of man, we also make many mistakes because of our inherent sinful nature. With this depraved nature, we tend to choose wrong more than right, bad more than good and evil more than righteous. This is especially true when we deal with people and make judgments on them. Our depraved nature tends to focus on the dark side of others and make wrong judgments on them. This depraved nature also lures us into making wrong choices for our life and bring pain and suffering on ourselves and others.
4) Repeated mistakes: Our problem on this issue is not that we make mistakes but we repeatedly make the same or similar mistakes. The fact that we repeat same mistakes puts us on a defenseless situation. We can understand and find consolation on our first mistakes, but how can we find justification on repeated mistakes? It is that diehard blindness or arrogance or willful disregard of God’s grace and human responsibility that leads us to repeat many mistakes. No one is immune from making mistakes but no one is entitled to repeat the same mistakes.
THE PROBLEM OF CORRECTION:
1) Correction is difficult: This is true both to the one who corrects and the one who is being corrected. It is difficult to the one who corrects because there are many issues involved in giving correction: knowing all the facts, making a proper understand and judgment, discerning the intention, both yours and the offender and finding a proper time and means to communicate your advice of correction. On the other hand, to be corrected is never easy either. It takes an extra portion of grace to accept advice or even criticism, a huge amount of humility to admit wrong and lots of courage and wisdom to correct the mistakes that had been done. That’s why too often, no one wants to tell anyone he is wrong and few wrong doers want to correct their own mistakes.
2) Correction is necessary: Just as bitter medicine is good to heal sickness, correcting wrongs is absolutely necessary even though it is never easy. No reasonable people who had made a mistake would think it doesn’t matter and goes on repeat the mistake again and again. If you are the wrong doer and are honest of your well being, you want someone whom you trust to tell you if you have done wrong. Our family, loved ones, good friends, they are all mirrors of our life and they see things in us we can’t see from our standing. Making mistakes once in a while is being human. But continue to make mistakes repeatedly and frequently at home, in school or at work or with relationships may ruin your life. That’s why we need someone to correct us from time to time.
3) Correction done with love: Paul, the Apostle, advised us that when we try to tell others the truth of their mistakes, we must do it because of love. “Telling the truth in love,” Paul said. (Ephesians 4:15) Never try to correct anyone because of your own pride or to humiliate the person or to put him down or because you pity him. Always bear in mind that you are no better than him only you made different mistakes. If you don’t have that sincere love for that person, you better wait until you have before you try to correct anyone.
4) Correction done properly: Even if you have the best intention and genuine love for that person, you still need to be careful to find a proper time, proper place, use proper words, proper attitude and see if he/she is in proper condition to listen to your words of correction. Anything of the above if improperly executed may cause harm than help both to you and the other person. You also need to see if you are the proper person to bring up the correction. You also need to see if the offender is in condition to receive advice. One of the guidelines for giving advice is: never give unsolicited advice because the other party is not ready to listen to you. You can never force in correction on anyone when he/she doesn’t feel the need.
HANDLING CORRECTION THE
1) Honest search of the heart: As powerful and successful as King David, he beseeched God to search his heart in Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me.” The very first step in handling mistakes is to honestly search our hearts to see if there is anything offensive to God and to man. Having a heart of humility and honestly seeking to know ourselves is the beginning of correcting our mistakes. Don’t allow pride gets in the way of seeing your mistakes. Be honest to see the true you
2) Sincere confession and repentance: When Prophet Samuel pointed out the mistake King Saul had done, Saul immediately confessed his mistake and asked for forgiveness. “Then Saul said to Samuel ‘I have sinned. I have violated the Lord’s command and your instruction…Now I beg you, forgive my sin.’” (1 Samuel 15:24-25) The same is true with the prodigal son. When he realized that he has made a mistake in his life, he went back and told his father: “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Being arrogant and defensive trying to justify your mistakes can only make things worse.
3) Don’t hate the messenger: God often times sends his messenger to help us correct our mistakes because He wants to see that we don’t repeat that same mistake again. King Solomon advised that when someone points out our mistakes, we need to act like a wise man to welcome the message and correct our mistakes accordingly instead of being a mocker or a fool who insults and hates the messenger. (9:8) “Do not rebuke a mocker (fool) or he will hate you. Rebuke a wise man and he will love you.” Be humble to accept good willed criticism or advice, admit your mistake and take appropriate steps to correct the mistake. Be thankful that someone loves you enough to point out your wrong so you may do it right next time.
4) Benefits of correction: Solomon advocated the benefits of being wise to accept advice and correct mistakes in the following verses: “Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be increased and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.” (9:9-12) Accepting advice and make corrections is never a shameful thing. To refuse advice in pride and arrogance is.
1) We all make mistakes: Don’t be too proud to think only others make mistakes. We all do. So, be gentle and generous to those who make mistakes. Correct your own mistakes before you can see better to correct others. No one is better than others.
2) We all need corrections: Be humble and sincere to receive advice on correcting our mistakes. Also be thankful that people love you enough to tell you the truth. Be quick to recognize your fault and be sincere to take steps of remedy to correct the wrong.
3) Repent and be saved: Your biggest mistake is not to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and through believing in Him your sins are forgiven. When the Word of God and His Holy Spirit move your heart to confess your sin, do it now and receive forgiveness from Him and enjoy the blessing of eternal life.