Have you ever built something? Used tools to create a decoration, modify a wall, put in flooring, change the trim in your house, etc.?
It seems simple when you watch those home remodeling shows on television. With tool in hand, you begin to delve into your project. The difference is in our real lives, we find there may be no “second takes” in when you cut the board too short.
Pictured above is a remodel project of a bathroom I did recently at our lake cabin. Looks pretty good from the pic, right? What you can’t see from the photos is what you could see in person, and even then, I’m not positive you would. There are mistakes I made during construction. Small ones, for sure, and I know where the mistakes are and how I hid them. A good carpenter knows how to hide mistakes.
Even though YOU may not see the mistakes in my construction, I know they’re there. There is no perfection in our lives. We work to hide our mistakes and unlike in carpentry, our past mistakes DO matter if not dealt with well.
Our past has a way of leaking into our present and future if we let it. Past resentments, unlearned lessons from previous goof ups – those things can really bring us down.
The bible is replete with mistake-makers – regular people like you and me that are real screw ups. And likely because of that and of God knowing our nature, he addresses us and our failures many places in scripture:
Proverbs 28:13 ESV “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
1 John 1:9 ESV “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Romans 8:1 ESV “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
God provides direction on how to effectively deal with our mistakes.
- Don’t keep mistakes to yourself: There’s a saying that “Our secrets keep us sick”. We are to share our mistakes with a responsible, mature fellow Follower. God promises us his mercy when we do so
- Change direction: We think of confession as a simple act of saying our mistake out loud to another, but true confession must have action to follow. To be legit and heartfelt, immediate steps to change or remedy the matter – to whatever extent possible – are to be followed. God promised to cleanse us when we do so.
- Accept God’s grace: There is an appropriate amount of remorse to experience when we screw up, but God doesn’t want to leave us there. For the world to be a just place, someone must pay the price for our mistakes. The Good News is that someone already did. His name is Jesus.
So being a good mistake-hider may make one a good carpenter, but it’s not a healthy model for a life of unsurpassed peace living in God’s presence.