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Learning From Our Mistakes

May 25, 2008

the local university holds an annual scholarship fundraiser. it is the million dollar hole-in-one challenge. i have a friend at church who qualified for the final round. he did not win, but he qualified. that is still an accomplishment. he was telling me today about his performance in that final round. it was held at one of the premier courses in the area. the pin (that is the cool way to say the flag, which of course signifies where the actual hole is) was about 150 yards out. there was a light breeze. my friend spent several minutes deciding which club to use. it was close between his 5-iron and his 6-iron. he could hit an easy 5-iron or a solid 6-iron. he chose the 6. he wishes he had chosen the 5 and the easy, fluid swing. instead, he chose the 6-iron and had to swing a full-powered swing. he told me that he has a tendency to tighten the grip with his left hand too much. he kept telling himself to relax his hand. he was doing well. as he made his back swing, right before he began his down swing, he felt himself tighten the grip with his left hand. this caused his swing path to go from the outside in and his ball went further left than he intended.

is this not how we so often live our lives? from the beginning, we know we are making the wrong decision. we could stop and change, but we don’t. we keep telling ourselves that if “i just make some minor adjustments” i can make this work. but we don’t. we stay with the decisions we have make and we don’t make the changes we should and our lives land somewhere left of where we intended. then we have to live with the consequences. we will have the opportunity to swing again, but this moment has passed, never to return. and we live with the regret of the mistake.

god forgives us and our account with him is settled. but in this world, we bear the scars of the mistakes we make. do we learn from them? do we use our experiences to teach others to avoid the same mistakes? what has god used in your life to allow you to teach others?

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