As painful as some mistakes can be, they don’t have to be a life sentence, they are growing experiences, but growth cannot begin unless you first start by forgiving yourself, even if others won’t.
A perfect human being does not exist. There is no human alive who never made a mistake. There is no such thing as a mistake-free life.
Similarly, even the best of people have their faults, even if they don’t realize it.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
–1 John 1:9
When you make a mistake ask God to forgive you. Next, forgive yourself. Others may not be so willing to forgive you. Don’t demand that they do. Even though God commands everyone to forgive others, it is very difficult for some people to do this. That’s between them and God. For your part, forgive yourself and keep praying for God to forgive you.
Growth and improvement begin by admitting to yourself that you have faults. Acknowledging the truth – you’ve made mistakes. Next, you must forgive yourself for the past. Not in a way that you discount or condone the mistakes you’ve made. When you forgive yourself, you also give yourself permission to heal and improve so that your mistakes won’t be repeated. It’s important to have an understanding that you may make other, future mistakes. When you do, repeat the above. But always keep trying, continuously, to improve and become more aware of your actions.
The next big step forward is a change of heart and mind.
The first step toward changing your heart and mind is to stop equating yourself with whatever faults or mistakes you have made. These do not define you. Faults can be corrected and eliminated so that they are no longer a part of you. You can learn from your mistakes so that they do not occur again. You can change your mindset so that you don’t make decisions that lead you to make the same or similar mistakes from the past.
Who you are is who you are inside. Your true self is what is inside of your mind and within the intentions of your heart. This is what God sees. It is also what God judges us by.
“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
When we change the intentions of our heart and mind in the right direction, we become capable of receiving God’s mercy, grace and forgiveness.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
– Colossians 3:12-14
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
– John 15:12
Jesus’ command extends not only to loving your neighbor, but loving yourself as well. Not in a selfish, narcissistic or vain way, but in a respectful way. After all, you are God’s creation. You are worthy of love and respect.
God knows that human beings are imperfect and have weaknesses. But it is through our imperfections that the glory of God shines ever more.
The apostle Paul said it well:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
It is through our challenges that we overcome weaknesses and grow stronger. Our imperfections and mistakes are a necessary part of our development. God does not hate us for these attributes. Instead, God loves us. Therefore, we should also love ourselves.
Jesus spoke about worldly worries when he said:
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)