Every once in awhile, I like to peruse pix of various tattoos. The artistry can be amazing, and often I’ll stumble across a real gem. Yesterday was one of those times.
The tat to which I’m referring was a simple saying. It read as follows: “I will make better mistakes tomorrow.” Stuff like that really catches my eye.
This particular one reminds me that each day is fraught with error. Even at my best, I make all kinds of mistakes (every day). A good day is when I’m able to minimize them. A mistake-free day is non-existent.
“To err is human…”
It’s no secret that mistakes are a part of everyday life. As the old saying goes, “To err is human…” I’m sure most of us do our darndest to eliminate as many of them as possible. Still, we keep proving our humanity over and over again.
The thing I like about this simple statement is the optimism and the stick-to-it-iveness it portrays. Placing it on your body in the permanent form of a tattoo is commendable (if you’re into tattoos). It says (I think) that you own up to your mistakes, you’re going to try again, and you’re going to do better next time. In my book, you can’t ask for more than that.
I’ve heard it said many times that our God is a God of second chances. That, my friends, is a gross understatement. His forgiveness is inconceivable. It’s beyond the pale. It’s off the charts (and any other cliché you can think of).
Take King David, for example. The Bible calls him a man after God’s own heart. Yet, this is the guy (if you remember the story) who saw Bathsheba (another guy’s wife) and wanted her so badly he pretty much broke all the commandments.
Think about it. All in the same story, he lusts, lies, covets, commits adultery, and murders. Did I forget anything? He gets nailed by the prophet Nathan, confesses, and proceeds to write a large part of the biggest book of the Bible (Psalms).
“To forgive, divine.”
So why didn’t such a vile guy just fade away into the forgotten chapters of history? He served the God of second chances—that’s why. His mistakes (translate, sins) were mind-boggling. Still, the Lord picked him up, forgave him, and used him and his talents for the Kingdom of God. There’s hope for me yet.
That’s where the second part of that old saying comes in. “To err is human—to forgive, divine.” Sometimes our mistakes are simply mistakes. Other times they are downright sinful. We need the forgiveness of the Almighty or there won’t be any second chance.
Once, Jesus was talking about forgiveness and Peter asked him how many times we should forgive someone, “Seven times?” Jesus said, “Seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21-22) I don’t think he meant for us to stop at 490. He meant for us to keep on forgiving, just like he does with us.
Thanks, Lord! I will make better mistakes tomorrow.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is currently the pastor of Smith Chapel, in Great Falls, VA.]