Making mistakes and listening to God

I have a simple philosophy regarding making mistakes: if you are committed to personal and organizational growth, attempting to offer your best, willing to take risks and stretching beyond your comfort zone, you will make mistakes. If you haven’t made a mistake lately I would contend that you are playing it safe and settling for average. Who wants to live that way?

I tell our staff that not only will you make mistakes, you have my support to make the same mistake twice. Life is a continual learning experience, gaining speed and complexity daily. Often you don’t realize you made a mistake a second time until you reflect back on the situation. But, if you make the same mistake a third time, we have a competence or a commitment issue so let’s talk about it.

There are three ways to deal with mistakes. The first and best option is to learn from others’ mistakes. This takes observation and listening skills, growth in asking good questions, and humility. The second option is to learn from our own mistakes. This takes accountability, vulnerability and time to reflect on the highs and lows of daily living. The third option is the most difficult and tragic: not learning from either our mistakes or others.’ Unfortunately, many people live this way, and they pay a huge price.

The greatest source of wisdom and our first and best opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes is to read the Bible. Whether you believe the Bible is true or not, do not ignore the wisdom you will discover within about the practical subjects of priorities, relationships, values, money management, leadership, sex and work.

I have always been fascinated with how raw and real the first book of the Bible, Genesis, is. One of the discoveries you will make if you have never read Genesis is that families and relationships have been broken and difficult from the beginning. It is almost as if God is saying, “I am providing Genesis as a gift to you so you can seize this opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others in marriage, family, parenting, temptation, sinful desires, sibling rivalry and relationships from the oldest and first book in the Bible.”

In Genesis we discover that God creates and Satan tears down. God gives life while Satan causes separation. God offers hope as Satan distracts, defeats and destroys. Satan’s rebellion leads him to twist God’s truth, distort our perspective, defeat our purpose, and tempt us to doubt God’s Word. Satan whispers in our ear, encouraging us to depend on anything but God. And when we do, we are unable to learn from the mistakes of others or ourselves. Will you listen to Satan’s whispers or seek God’s voice and leadership through your daily adventures? The choice is yours to make. I’m thankful we are on this journey together to encourage and strengthen each other.

God bless you! See you next Sunday!

Hauser is founding and senior pastor, Prairie Heights of Fargo Moorhead. Email jon@ prairieheights.com

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