Friday, May 1, 2020

Learning From Our Mistakes

By Alan Smith

    The story is told of two hunters who got a pilot to fly them into the far north for elk hunting. They were quite successful in their venture and bagged six big bucks. The pilot came back, as arranged, to pick them up. They started loading their gear into the plane, including the six elk.
    The pilot objected and said, "The plane can only carry four of your elk. Any more than that would weigh the plane down too much. You'll have to leave two of the elk behind."
    The two hunters were both infuriated and insistent. They said, "Last year, we shot six elk and that pilot let us put them all on board. And that plane was the exact same model."
    Reluctantly, the pilot finally permitted them to put all six aboard. But about fifteen minutes after taking off, the engine started to sputter, and within seconds they were hurtling to the ground and crashed into the wilderness.
    Climbing out of the wreckage, one hunter said to the other, "Do you know where we are?"
    "I think so," replied the other hunter.  "I think this is about a mile from where we crashed last year!"
    We're so slow to learn at times. We make a mistake, and you would think we would learn never to make that mistake again, but we often find ourselves right back where we were. We think, "This time it will be different. This time it won't end up the same way." But it often does. Hopefully, though, we eventually reach a level of maturity where we can learn from our mistakes.
    Aldous Huxley once said, "Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him."
    Two of Jesus’ apostles made some terrible mistakes. Judas betrayed Jesus for a handful of coins, and Peter denied knowing Jesus (not once, but three times!) to prevent being persecuted. Is there really any difference between betraying Jesus to get money and denying Him to save your own skin? Two terrible mistakes, and both wept bitterly afterward, realizing how they had failed Jesus.
    But the two men responded to their mistakes in very different ways. Judas was so distraught that he didn’t think he could even go on living. Peter was devastated as well, but accepted the forgiveness of Jesus, learned from his mistakes and went on to do powerful things for the kingdom.
    “Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again, but the wicked will be brought down by calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16, NET Bible)
    Made any mistakes lately? Thanks to Christ, it doesn't have to be the end of the world. But may you learn from them as you grow closer to God.
    Have a great day!

- Alan Smith, author of the popular "Thought For Today," and minister for the Cruciform Church of Christ in Spring Lake, North Carolina, may be contacted at or through the congregation's website:

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