Mere mistakes - Hope 103.2

Mere mistakes

By David ReayTuesday 3 Oct 2017LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read James 1:13-15

13 When a person is tempted, they shouldn’t say, “God is tempting me.” God can’t be tempted by evil. And he doesn’t tempt anyone. 14 But each person is tempted by their own evil desires. These desires lead them on and drag them away. 15 When these desires are allowed to remain, they lead to sin. And when sin is allowed to remain and grow, it leads to death. (NIV)

There is a difference between committing a sin and making mistake. As our text reminds us, sin is a conscious thought or action that defies God, asserts its independence from God. We want to live life apart from God. There is nothing really accidental about sin.

However, mistakes are different. We may intend to do good but because of our limitations of knowledge or resources we end up not doing good. It is not our intentions that are the problem: it is our intelligence, our understanding. We may offer what we believe is wise counsel to a friend and that friend rejects the counsel and is wounded by it. We have said the wrong thing, but not with a wrong heart. We have made a mistake, we have caused harm, but we have not thereby sinned.

We may enter into a marriage or friendship with a person who turns out to be a very bad choice. We have made a mistake, but we need not beat ourselves over the head with guilty self-condemnation. We are humans: we have limited understanding and maturity. We make mistakes. And most mistakes are redeemable. We can learn from them, we can apologise for them. But we need not seek forgiveness for them: mistakes are not sins.

Though to end on a cautionary note: while we don’t confuse mistakes for sins, don’t go to the other extreme and confuse sins for mistakes. Discern your intentions and the state of your heart, then determine whether you confess a sin or apologise for a mistake.

David Reay