Sometimes mistakes can be crippling.
I know I have made my fair share. I wish I had the video footage of the time I made a capo (key) change mid-song. The band had just figured out what I had done, and was kind enough (and skilled enough) to go along with my error, and then I switched to the “correct” key… HA! Or when I totally botched my own song at the coolest venue I have ever played (ohh I do have that one somewhere, I will have to dig that up). Today, I would like to use this ridiculous accidental word mistake to talk about some more serious mistakes.
These are those mistakes – things that I have said and done – where I am deeply relieved that video footage is not available. In fact, there are things I would be very ashamed to have on video. Why is it that video evidence seems to be so effective at holding us accountable? Sometimes we forget that the Bible tells us we will have to give an account:
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37, English Standard Version
12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Romans 14:12, English Standard Version
Giving an account is pretty scary to think about, actually.
The good news is that while we may have to give an account, we will not have to fear judgment. Jesus took care of that:
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5, English Standard Version.
That’s really good news. Incredible news!
So this is not a license to sin, as Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, English Standard Version, but it is a good reminder to reflect on whether our own self-criticism is godly or beneficial. Beyond a clear recognition, repentance, and pursuit of righteousness, I don’t think it very often is. When I say self-criticism, this could mean an inability to accept a compliment, a constant dwelling on mistakes or shortcomings, or a tendency to move right past successes and dwell on failures. I am guilty of all these things. I could have just played a song that changed somebody’s life, and as they come up to tell me after the service, I don’t have the awareness to say at least “Thank you,” instead of “well, actually I really messed up today so I am glad to hear that!” That’s not pastoral or outwardly focused. It is actually selfish and off-putting.
So if you, like me, have a tendency to dwell on mistakes, to let them bother you, even prevent you from moving forward, maybe these thoughts can free you from that thinking. Maybe you can learn to laugh at yourself! It might not be your initial response. Believe me, it has taken me some time to even admit mistakes, much less laugh at them, not to mention post them on Youtube and write about it in a blog. However, maybe it’ll help somebody out with a total train wreck they had on Sunday. Maybe it’ll help somebody out with the perfectionist tendencies they just keep fighting off every day. That’s my hope, and that’s why I am starting this thing! My name is Josh, and I am a worship pastor wading through my mistakes toward Jesus.