In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we meet a young man who started off with robust self confidence, big dreams, and great ambitions. However, due to lack of adequate mentorship and self-discipline, he became a victim of his own poor choices and miscalculations. He squandered his wealth in wild living. Consequently, he lost his dreams, a sense of who he was and what he was capable of achieving.
After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. ~ Luke 15:13-15
His sense of personal worth deteriorated to the point that he felt he was no better than a filthy swine.
The most dangerous thing about mistakes and failures is how they can steal our vision and self-confidence. Errors of judgment, delays, disappointments, and hardships can sometimes make us forget who we are. Then we lose confidence in ourselves and abandon our lofty dreams.
What if you’ve made so many mistakes?
What if you’ve wasted so much time?
What if you have a deep and nagging sense of failure?
Well, don’t waste precious time beating yourself up for your mistakes.
Everybody has made mistakes. As a matter of fact, successful people have made more mistakes than others.
Actually, it is impossible to attain enduring success – the kind of success that continues to inspire people – if you’ve never known failure. Failure can be sobering, and humbling; hence it can be a blessing in disguise – that is, if you respond positively to it. The sobriety and humility imparted by the experience of failure can ultimately enable you to inspire others with hope.
The important thing is to admit your mistakes, make a restorative turn, and move on.
There’s always a way back.
This makes me think of the GPS navigational system. When you make a wrong turn, it never says “You idiot, why did you go that way? I told you not to do that! Now you are lost, there’s no hope for you.”
Instead, the moment you make a wrong turn, the GPS immediately recalculates, and tells you what corrective turn to make.
Because there’s always a way back.
I believe that’s a model of how to respond in those moments that we realize we’ve made mistakes and failed.
This was exactly what the prodigal son did:
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. ~ Luke 15:17-20
He never beat himself up and said, “My situation is hopeless. I can never make it again. It’s too late. It’s over.” Instead, he admitted his mistakes, recalculated, and made the restorative turn.
What matters is not where you have been, or what you have done. What matters is the fact that through the blood of Jesus Christ there is cleansing from every sin.
By His grace you can be made whole. By His blood you are set free.
“Come now, let us reason together,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool. ~ Isaiah 1:18
In spite of your mistakes and wrong turns, you can still achieve God’s dreams for your life. God wants your dreams to become your realities.
Through God’s grace, and help, the distance between what you dream and what you see is achievable.
Therefore, don’t waste precious time beating yourself up for your mistakes. Humbly admit your mistakes, turn to God for mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Then correct yourself, make a restorative turn, and move on.