Category Archives: Mistakes

Mistakes – learning from, not living with

I’m no admirer of Eleanor Roosevelt.  The Roosevelt’s and their fellow liberals allowed an infestation of communists and fellow-travelers in high government positions before and during WWII.

She did have two admirable traits worth emulating.  One, she could arrive at a course of action and follow it until it succeeded or failed.  Two, if it failed, she began again on another course.  She once told Edna Ferber that she didn’t have more energy than others, but she didn’t use her available energy on regret.  As an example, if she failed to make a good speech, she forgot it and determined to improve the next time.  The willingness to decide and act energized her, though it sometimes led to failure.  But failure never prevented trying again.

Learning to do our best.  Learning from our mistakes.  Learning to begin again.  Learning to forget our past.  Do we understand that the ability to forget is also a blessing?  That while a retentive memory treasures past joys, a gracious forgetfulness obliterates past blunders?

The apostle Paul stressed this point in Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead….”  Could he ever have lived in peace with himself if he hadn’t learned to forget his brutal crimes against innocent Christians?

So with us.  Today has had its share of errors.  We’ve spoken the unspeakable thing or omitted the essential part.  Well…don’t let the memory of it haunt us.  Do better tomorrow what we’ve done poorly today.  But resist surrendering to self-destructive regret.

Repent if that’s necessary.  Willingly accept God’s indulgent forgiveness.  And, “forgetting what is behind,” rest in Christ’s peace and live in the certainty of his victory.

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Mistakes – not learning from

Every parent should leave a legacy, not merely wealth, to his children.  But when one desires for them what failed him, all one leaves is wealth.  And wealth will bring things, but not values.

Family members heard actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s will read two weeks after he died in a New York City hotel room.  The most interesting fact about his will wasn’t the $500,000 plus in his estate.  It wasn’t that he left most of it to his longtime live-in, with whom he had a son, now nearly 11.  The interesting fact was that he wanted his children to be reared in either New York City, Chicago or San Francisco.  Those cities have the culture, arts and architecture he wants his boys to absorb.  San Diego Union Tribune, 2/20/14

That’s very peculiar.  Despite gaining fame and wealth by his exposure to the film industry, all it bequeathed him was an anxiety he couldn’t escape, an addiction he couldn’t shake, a fear he couldn’t resolve—and it all left him dead in a New York City hotel room with a needle stuck in his arm.  And he wants more of THAT for his sons?  Why would he think an appreciation of that culture, art and architecture would give them any more purpose than it gave him?