What Is A Mistake?

Warning!  This is a rant.

For the last several years, I have heard grown adults who have made horrible decisions, PURPOSEFUL decisions, when caught, say, “I made a mistake.”
It bothered me then, and it is REALLY bothering me now, because it has made its way into counseling offices, detention centers and courtrooms.

Let’s be real.  A MISTAKE is something unintentional.  A MISTAKE is when you make an error in your check book. A mistake is when you buy a shirt to match a pair of pants and when you get home the colors clash so it has to be returned.  A mistake is rather benign and innocent in nature.  It is NOT intentional.

When a person makes a very poor choice, or decision, or acts in a manner that is plain evil; folks, THAT IS NOT A MISTAKE! That is an intentional act.  It may not be the best idea, or a good decision, but a MISTAKE it is NOT!

To rob a bank and hold people hostage for hours, is NOT a mistake and to call it such diminishes the true weight of what the person has done.
There is no real healing in owning up to a “mistake”.
That is NOT truly facing poor choices and it takes the full weight of responsibility off of the offender and leaves the offended with some weightless excuse that has no valid meaning.

Lying is NOT a mistake.  Stealing is NOT a mistake.  It may be a very regrettable act, especially if one gets caught, but a mistake? NO!

As parents and counselors we need to be very careful NOT to be drawn into the societal pitfall of not taking responsibility for one’s actions, and therefore enabling the offender who makes terrible decisions to continue to do so as they do not face the reality that their actions were very, VERY wrong.
We must face the FACTS as a society that we are ALL capable of great wrong and to diminish our wrong doing to a simple “mistake”
is a slap in the face for those we offend.
True sorrow faces up to the facts that we have wronged somebody and that we are truly sorry.

If after leaving us bloodied  beaten and battered after a 6 hour rampage, you say, “I made a mistake”, my reply might be, “Dude! That was SOME MISTAKE!” “Let’s try again!”
But if you were to say, ” I don’t know why I did what I did, it was a terrible thing to do, a very poor decision, and I am so very sorry.”
We can talk.

So, thank you for hearing my Rant which is targeted at every Dallas Cowboy or sports figure who screams mistake after intentionally harming somebody,  and every counselor or person who is supposed to be helping, and to those who would diminish SIN, to a mistake.

The next time you make an unintentional error in your checkbook, don’t beat yourself up over it. THAT FOLKS,  IS A MISTAKE. 🙂

4 Responses to What Is A Mistake?

  1. Diana says:

    100% agree…and it has caused some HUGE rifts in my extended family too. There is a great desire to minimize and sweep horrible things under the rug. There is nobility in loving the sinner in spite of what they’ve done. But there is also both insult and danger in doing so. When horrible and deliberate choices are minimized, or brushed off or deemed “ok” eveb thogh we all knkw theyre not, the likelihood of reoffense skyrockets and the victims are only further silenced and harmed. It also astounds me how freely forgiveness without boundaries is given just because they said “I’m sorry.”

    Reality is that forgiveness and trust are NOT the same thing. One is granted by me to free me. The other is earned and lives within the parameters of boundaries and understands that once broken it will never be the same as it was before.

  2. ChristieM says:

    Fortunately, we have had a very supportive family through all of our adoption journey over the past 12 plus years. (actually longer considering Mike adopted the boys).

    Love, is unconditional. We LOVE our children without hesitation, and do not hold back. So when we tell them we love them, we truly mean it with all our hearts.

    Trust however, can be broken. Can you love somebody without trusting them? Absolutely. Or, as Mike says, “I trust you to be you.” 🙂

    Can trust be earned back? Of course it can, and it must be done as a natural process. As a child follows household rules, complies with respect and shows themselves trustworthy, it is earned back.

    When our girls were smaller and they would tell a lie, we never ever let that off as a “mistake”….. It was a very factual event.
    “Mom, I lied, and the truth is……” and they were encouraged to become truth tellers.

    The recent events with one of our sweeties has shaken us to our core and caused us to re examine all we have taught, and as we have let the dust settle, we would not change what we have done. When somebody is dead set on doing wrong, and at all costs, including incredible deception pursues that achievement, the result is going to be very sad; but that is the choice of the person pursuing.

    Even in the midst of great pain and confusion, we told her we love her. And we do.

    If she comes to full repentance and shows herself accountable in a constructive way, there will be a path back to trust, but as you well know, that wound that is there, can either be strengthening for the relationship, or it can be a weak link in the relationship if trust is broken again.
    Ultimately, we LOVE because HE first loved us. Scripture says, “Even when we hated Him, He loved us.”
    That is what we must do for our children.
    Oh how I pray that ALL of my children see Christ in me.

  3. Sunny says:

    Reminds me of the old phrase ‘it’s better to be trusted than to be loved’

    We can love anyone. Trusting says something about the person.

  4. Nancy says:

    Yes! This speaks to the heart of an issue in my own family. A “mistake” that has been made more than once . . . I’ve always responded that it’s a mistake when you wear 2 different color socks, a deed that is committed consciously & willfully is not a “mistake”. Thank you for articulating something I’ve never been able to. I’m sorry for the need for your rant, though. As always, prayers for you & your family!

Comments warmly welcomed!

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