Moving Past Mistakes

Taking a spiritual look at events and issues of special interest to young people.

THERE isn't anyone who hasn't made mistakes. Some of us have made a lot of them. Even small mistakes can be annoying, and some big ones can look completely irreversible. Sometimes a mistake can threaten to ruin your whole life.

If you have made a mistake that you are feeling bad about, you could do several things. First you could just try to ignore it. Or you could punish yourself for it. Or you could deal with it, and move on. There's no denying that you'll decide on something, even if it's doing nothing at all. Now, ignoring something won't make it go away-most anyone who has tried this would have to admit it eventually made the problem worse. Similarly, heaping guilt on yourself won't change a mistake (although it can sure make you miserable). So let's talk about the third option-dealing with a mistake and moving on. The best method of doing this is praying. Christian Science teaches that prayer begins with God. And what Christian Science teaches is simply the spiritual message of the Holy Bible.

The Bible says, in the book of Isaiah, "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me" (45:5). There is no power besides God's power. Put another way, any power you have must come from God. To see further the importance of this, you can go to another Bible statement. These are the words of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who knew God better than anyone ever has. Jesus said, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise" (John 5:19). Evidently, it was important to Jesus to understand that we do not have the ability to act separately from God. We're on safe ground to say that no one actually has power of his or her own.

It makes sense that God couldn't make a mistake. He is nothing but good. Everything He created is good, and always has been. You are created by Him, and you are good, because you are His spiritual image and likeness. Any mistake someone may be struggling with is not the working of God, or of His image, man. The angry things you might have said without really thinking first, or the dumb decision someone made, or the accident somebody's negligence caused-all the things human beings call mistakes-are not even things God knows. Mistakes don't have power or reality, because unerring harmony is the only reality according to the law of God.

When you really think about these facts-study them and understand them-you are praying. And when you pray, things change in your life as a result. Good things happen. Illnesses go away. Mistakes get resolved-and prevented. Just how healings will come about is not for us to know. But we can confidently expect them.

It sounds simple, and sometimes it is. But you do really have to want to understand God's power, and to feel it in your life. Here discipline comes in. The motive to be good-to be true to your real nature as God's child-is what makes a prayer sincere and brings God's power into your life.

The Bible tells about Jacob, a man who tricked his father into giving him an inheritance that should rightfully have gone to his brother. He tried running away. But eventually he was forced to go to God with his mistake, when he found his brother was coming after him with hundreds of men. Jacob was sure his brother would kill him. But in his prayer, Jacob must have learned how wrong he was to think he had the personal power to steal something good from another. He must have seen a lot more clearly that God could be the only power. The result of his prayer was a healing; when Jacob met up with his brother, he was more than forgiven, and his brother treated him with utter kindness (see Genesis, chaps. 27 to 33).

Mistakes can be resolved because they've never been true for man. Consider this from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, written by Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Christian Science Church: "Omnipotent and infinite Mind made all and includes all. This Mind does not make mistakes and subsequently correct them. God does not cause man to sin, to be sick, or to die" (p. 206). It's possible to move beyond mistakes-even big ones. Understanding that God is the only power, is the way.

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