I hate to make mistakes! Yet, I probably make as many if not more than the average person. In fact, I get to make mine in a big way! Being a public speaker gives me the “opportunity” to display my spoken mistakes before hundreds of people every week. (And, yes, they are forever remembered!) However, I do take comfort in knowing that I am not alone. It seems a lot of us preachers excel in faux pas. A while back someone sent the following to me that will help prove my point.
As the story goes, Ol’ Joe had been a faithful Christian all of his life. His body eventually wore out, though, and he was in the hospital and near death. His preacher went by to visit him and while standing at his bedside Joe’s condition suddenly began to worsen. Unable to speak, the old gentleman frantically motioned for a pad on which he could write what was on his mind. He then used his last reserve of energy to scribble a note which he weakly handed to the preacher before passing away. Because of the circumstances the preacher did not read the note but stuck it in the pocket of his jacket.
At the funeral, the preacher was about to finish his message when it occurred to him that he had on the same jacket that he had on at the hospital when Joe died. He said, “You know, Ol’ Joe handed me a note just before passed on. I haven’t looked at it, but knowing Joe, I’m sure there is a word of inspiration there for us all.” He then removed the note from his pocket and read, “You’re standing on my oxygen tube!”
Obviously, this is not a true story, but we laugh because it helps us appreciate our humanity. James wrote, “We all stumble in many things” (James 3:2). Isn’t that the truth?!? We must understand, though, that James is not speaking of little social blunders that make us laugh. He is talking about the serious mistakes we make in life, namely “sins” that bring heartache and tears. Yes, we all make those, too.
We should all hate sinning! For sins separate us from God by violating His will for us (Isaiah 59:1-2). But God be thanked for loving us so much that He sent Jesus to atone for our transgressions (Romans 5:8). Further, by obeying His will, not only are we forgiven of our sins- - He remembers them no more! (Hebrews 10:17).
So, yes we all make our share of mistakes- - even spiritually. But thanks to a compassionate God, we can be forgiven and start over again (2 Corinthians 5:17).