Lessons from Mistakes

Well, in case you were wondering, Yes, I did make the Lane cake for Mark’s birthday. I didn’t remember how complicated the recipe was, but I did accomplish the task without needing to use whole cherries and lots of icing to compensate for crooked cutting.

Making it again after all these years I realized the benefit of mistakes…

This time I knew ahead of time how important it was to cut the layers evenly. I took my time to carefully cut each layer; going around the outside keeping the long, serrated knife in the middle of the layer, then slicing through the middle.

This time I cut the layers evenly.

This time my cake was level!

My mistake taught me a lesson, and that lesson enabled me to be successful!


And so I began to think of mistakes recored in the Bible that also became opportunities to learn from…

I thought of Moses and his big mistake…

When Moses grew up and saw the hard work his people were forced to do, he was grieved by the harsh treatment they received from the Egyptians. One day he saw an Egyptian beating one of his own people and a righteous anger rose up within him, and thinking no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian.

However, someone had seen his mistake, and it caused Moses to be afraid, it put him danger, and he needed to flee Egypt to save his life.

Our mistakes can bring shame and condemnation that cause us to believe we are disqualified from doing what we think is right. They can bring fear of ever trying to do it again.

I also thought of Jonah and his big mistake…

God called Jonah to take a message to the people of Nineveh. They were living very wickedly and God told Jonah to pronounce judgement against them. Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. Jonah’s mistake resulted in him being tossed from the ship, sinking down to the bottom of the ocean, then swallowed by a huge fish.

Our mistakes can bring fear, isolation, and hopelessness that cause us to believe we aren’t worthy of a second chance.

I also thought of Peter’s big mistake…

Peter thought his loyalty to Jesus was strong, he said he would go to prison with Him, and even die with Him. But that very night Peter made a big mistake, he denied he even knew Jesus, not just once, but three times. As Peter looked into Jesus’ eyes he went out and wept bitterly.

Our mistakes can prove that we are capable of doing the very thing we said we would never do.

These examples of mistakes from the Bible are huge compared to cutting cake crookedly and winding up with an uneven cake. But any mistake no matter how big or how little can be a learning experience if we allow God to work it together for our good.

Every mistake will either bring the harm the enemy means…


It will bring the good God intends.

Moses spent forty years in Midian before God called to him from the burning bush. Moses was no longer living in the Pharaoh’s palace determined to rescue his people, to fight for their deliverance. He was now a lonely shepherd, tending his father-in-law’s sheep.

Mistakes are meant to humble us.

Mistakes can teach us that we can’t do it on our own.

Jonah spent three days in the belly of a fish. He knew he had made a mistake in running from God. He cried out to God for a second chance.

Mistakes can leave us helpless.

Mistakes are meant to leave us desperate.

Peter wept bitterly as he looked into the eyes of Jesus and walked away.

Mistakes are meant show us our own hearts.

Mistakes can reveal what is really inside us.

We can allow mistakes to define us.


We can allow mistakes to refine us.

It all depends on what voice you listen to.

Moses was conflicted when God’s voice told him to go and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses had allowed his mistake to deem him incapable, disqualified, and found excuses to prove his point. What would have happened to Moses and the Israelites if Moses listened to his own voice instead of God’s?

Jonah was conflicted when God’s voice told him to go tell the Ninevites to repent. He didn’t want to go to those people; they weren’t deserving of God’s mercy. What would have happened to Jonah and the Ninevites if Jonah’s mistake didn’t cause him to become desperate and beg God for a second chance?

What voices of shame and condemnation did Peter hear when he denied Jesus and went out weeping bitterly? What would have happened to him and to the early church if Peter allowed his mistake to convince him he no longer loved Jesus the way he thought he did, the way he used to?

We all make mistakes.

Some are bigger than others, but with every mistake we have the opportunity to choose what voice we will listen to.

When we allow the voice of the enemy to convince us that a mistake we made has disqualified us and made us incapable we have allowed our mistake to define us. When we allow the voices of accusation and condemnation to bring insecurity and excuses to keep us from obeying the call of God, we experience the harm the enemy meant for us and for those around us. 

When we allow our mistakes to convince us that we aren’t worthy of another chance we have allowed our mistake to define us. When we believe the lies that we are too far, and things are too hopeless, we won’t cry out to God in desperation for a second chance.

When we make the ultimate mistake, the one we once thought we would never make, we realize we can’t even trust ourselves, and we allow it to define us. When we trust our own thoughts and feelings we focus on self improvement and it results in striving, but leads to nowhere.

But, Praise God, there is another voice!

The voice of God!

The voice of Truth!

The voice Moses finally listened to and became the great deliverer of the Israelites!

The voice the Jonah listened to and proclaimed judgement to the Ninevites that lead to their salvation!

The voice Peter listened to and responded with love for Jesus that empowered him to become a powerful preacher resulting in thousands believing in Jesus, the beginning of the church that remains today!

Mistakes are intended by God for our good! They are opportunities to listen to what God has to say to us, what He has to teach us, and how He wants to refine us. We are intended to learn from them and become better because of them. We are to gain understanding and renewed trust in God so that the very thing we messed up is redeemed and restored. Any shame and condemnation that was meant to harm us is intended to be turned to great joy and praise and thanksgiving to God for His love and faithfulness towards us!!

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