How God Sees Our Mistakes
By Kristine Brown
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28 NIV
After watching our 7th grader’s football team claim another win, my husband and I decided to grab a quick bite while waiting to pick up our little athlete at the school gym. A brief conversation with our son earlier confirmed his team would be staying late to watch the 8th graders play. Knowing we had an hour to spare, we took advantage of the time alone with an impromptu date.
Imagine my shock when we pulled up to the front of the school to see only our son left sitting there, right next to a tired-looking coach. No doubt he waited patiently with the last player standing for two irresponsible parents to arrive so that he could go home.
I was humiliated.
Hadn’t we confirmed these plans? Did I miss the memo that they would not, in fact, stay to watch the next game? I felt responsible. Not just for my own mistake, but for all of it. For the coach having to wait on us, for my son’s lack of communication, and for not double-checking before we took off to enjoy a relaxing dinner. And just like that, I fell into the trap of mom-guilt, a place I knew well.
Guilt over my mistakes is one of my biggest enemies. It makes me feel unqualified, like I’m not cut out for the job. Feelings of inadequacy lead the way, and self-condemnation quickly follows. I end up fearing that my mess-ups will have a lasting impact, and I will only have myself to blame.
But God doesn’t see our mistakes that way. In fact, quite the opposite. Even in our mess-ups, God is working on our behalf.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
In Romans 8:4, Paul reminds us that we “do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” This is an important truth to remember as we seek to understand God’s response to our messes. God’s thoughts toward us are in direct contrast with the flesh. Our first reaction is to condemn ourselves, but God works in and through our mistakes to bring about good.
The truth is, our flesh tells us we should have it all together all the time. We love the satisfaction that comes with getting it right. But that satisfaction is only temporary. That’s why God directs us to listen to the Spirit living in us.
In verse 26, Paul says, “...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” When we stop striving for perfection and acknowledge how much we need God, we will find freedom and joy in ways beyond what we can imagine.
Since the day of the infamous football game dinner date, I’ve learned to smile at my minor mishaps. Instead of wringing my hands in agony, I’m embracing my imperfections and looking for ways God is working.
The day after the game, we sent a surprise lunch to the coaches with a note of apology. A small gesture to let them know how much we appreciated them. God at work. In all things.
Are you frustrated over a mistake you’ve made? Whether you’re dealing with guilt, frustration, or self-condemnation, take heart. Let’s read Romans 8:28 one more time. God is speaking to us today. He sees those little messes a lot differently than we do. Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to work in our weakness. God is faithful, and He loves us - mistakes and all.
Discover more encouragement from Kristine Brown to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at her website, kristinebrown.net. Kristine is the author of the book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan, and the new Over It. Devotional for Teen Girls.
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