A stone for a wall or a path?
While most mistakes we make are not those that result in a permanent riff in a relationship with another, there is a tendency for us to recall the past ones made when the individual keeps making the same ones, isn't there? Most of the time, we do our best to not make the same mistake again, but if you have ever made the same one more than once, you know just how frightfully hard it can be to seek forgiveness, much less give it! Rarely do we look as mistakes as 'permanent' because we allow 'do-overs' in life. Wasn't the key labeled backspace on the keyboard really a way of allowing us to retype those misspelled words, or completely eliminate a thought we did not want to continue with in those written words? We all have those 'backspace' moments - those times when we know we have made mistakes, but we need to the grace of God to wipe them out so we can start over again.
A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful. But if he confesses and forsakes them, he gets another chance. (Proverbs 28:13)
Olympic downhill skiers don't learn their skill playing video games any more than we learn the 'art of forgiveness' from just saying we will forgive someone. Forgiveness is a skill best learned by active participation. How much more do my actions convey when I not only forgive, but also come alongside to embrace and help that other with their 'do-over' in life? Or to get just a little closer to home...when they embrace us and help us with our much needed 'do-over'? Life isn't easy and choices are made that sometimes don't always end up the way we want. Rather than seeing these mistakes as 'discards' in life, wouldn't it be wonderful if our mistakes could actually become the building blocks by which a thing of beauty could spring forth? By God's grace no mistake is ever wasted!
According to Webster, a mistake is a 'blunder in choice'. It carries the idea of a wrong act of judgment. We all suffer from impaired judgment at times, but we need never reject those moments of impaired judgment as stepping stones to help us take steps in the right direction. Admit the misstep and incorporate the lesson learned by it so you don't make it again! At that point, it isn't wasted - it becomes foundational to not making the same one again. Yes, you may make a similar one, but it won't be exactly the same. Yes, you may have a few stones laid before you realize they weren't leading you down the right path, but you can redirect any path! Path changes often come because we are reconciled by love - the love of Christ, then the love of those who befriend us on this earth.
We are received by God without barrier - don't let mistakes become a barrier that keeps you away from being received by each other. We are the ones who take those mistakes and use them to either build walls that separate us, or turn them into paths that pave the way to newness in the relationship. Just sayin!