Mistake.

Failure.

These words are not ones we would generally consider to be positive. They’re not ones we would use to encourage others or ones we would use to find the good in a bad situation. They are negative words with a variety of negative meanings. Right? Wrong. They don’t have to be. Society tells us what perfect is, what it should be, or what it should look like. The perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect car, etc. This carries over into education. If it’s not a 100% or an “A” then it is unacceptable.

However, this goes against what the Bible tells us and the teachings of Jesus Himself. He did not come to this world because we were perfect. Quite the opposite in fact; He came to this world because we are NOT perfect. Because we make mistakes. Because we fail. Because we sin. Because we are sinners. Because we need Him.

But these mistakes, these failures, these sins - they do not define us. God sees past all of these things. God loves us in spite of all of these things. We too can learn to see past them and turn to Him. Turn to Him when we make mistakes. Turn to Him when we fail. Turn to Him when we sin.

In the classroom we teach that mistakes are the building blocks of learning. You make a mistake, you recognize the mistake, you learn from it. Hopefully you do not make the same mistake again, but maybe you do. Learning is an ongoing process; it is never complete. We even have a fancy term for this - growth mindset. The same can be applied to our lives as Christians. We sin, we recognize the sin, we ask for forgiveness, we work to do our best and avoid sinning. We know we cannot avoid it fully, such is the life of a sinner. But this does not mean that we ever stop trying or ever stop moving forward and working toward salvation. The salvation that is ours, that is promised to us; provided we turn to Him when we make mistakes, when we fail.

So, in a world obsessed with perfection, maybe we should accept our imperfectness. Maybe we should be content to grow, change, learn, and always be working toward being and doing our best. Maybe we recognize our sins and mistakes and make plans to better ourselves and learn. Then we can celebrate the victories along the way. The improvement in church attendance, the completion of a Bible reading plan, the “B” that was worked hard for and reflects the true learning process and understanding of the concept. Because relying on the Savior, the Teacher, the Good Shepherd to guide us through the sins and mistakes will eventually lead us to the ultimate reward.