Mistakes Don't Make Us

I remember when I was about 15 years old and a freshman in high school trying to figure out where I fit in. I was pretty much up for any kind of adventure that involved a group where I could connect and belong. I’ll never forget when my friend Kim walked up to me after second period and asked if I wanted to come with her and some friends. I didn’t know where they were going or what they were doing but I said yes. We ended up leaving school when we were supposed to go to lunch. I somehow ended up in the bed of a truck (to my disgust now) with NO seatbelt on, driving around aimlessly while 3 other people I didn’t know smoked cigarettes and my friend and I joined in like we had a clue what we were doing. We did not. Of course, we got busted. And of course we got into so much trouble at school and at home. I had just started my high school career and it felt like this poor choice I made was going to define me for the rest of my life.

If you’re human, you’ve made mistakes. It’s easy to forget that fact when you are the one who made the mistake. I know for me, when I’ve made poor choices or have done or said things I shouldn’t have, I will beat myself up for it and make myself feel like the worst person on the planet. And while I should take account of what I’ve done wrong and ask God and others for forgiveness, I should also be able to forgive myself and move forward. That is sometimes the hardest part.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold myself in my own personal prison cell after I make mistakes. I allow myself to believe that the mistakes I have made are a larger reflection of who I am than anything else I’ve done. That’s simply not true, but sometimes, it can feel that way. The weight of our guilt and shame can distort our thinking. It can cause us to forget that we are not our poor choices. We are not our mistakes.

1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

God doesn’t want us to live stuck in our past mistakes. He wants us to confess our sins and live in freedom so we can follow him wholeheartedly. God wants us to know who we are in him so that we are able to show his love and grace to others  when they need it most in the same way He showed it to us when we needed it most. Believe it or not, God can use your mistakes to bring Glory to Him. So maybe instead of allowing yourself to be swallowed by shame and guilt of past choices, allow yourself to find the freedom that Christ offers so your mistakes can be used for His glory!

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