Mistakes… we all make them.
Big ones, little ones, ones we think aren’t even mistakes until we look back and realize it was.
Sometimes, these mistakes turn into huge regrets. Things we wish had never happened and hope no one ever finds out about.
But often, God will use these things we are ashamed of for good, whether it teaches us a valuable lesson, or ends up helping others.
My favorite example of this is John Newton. If you don’t know who that is, he wrote a song you may have heard before: Amazing Grace.
Newton was raised in a Christian home, but as a young man abandoned his household faith. He became involved in the lucrative but brutal African slave trade for many years, but eventually repented and returned to God.
Little did Newton realize that someday God would use his mistakes for His glory and to shape him into a great man who would change history. He ended up being instrumental in the abolishment of the slave trade in Britian.
Use Your Mistakes to Grow Closer to God
When I’m discouraged or feeling lost, I find that I drop to my knees in prayer much more readily than when everything is going great. My problems push me to grow in prayer in a way that the good times never can.
John Newton’s mistakes pushed him to be a man of prayer too. By the end of his life, his diary indicates that he prayed at least five hours a day. Out of that prayer life, he developed a close relationship with God that impacted the world.
Use Your Mistakes to Show God’s Glory
You may not think that anything good can come from your blunder, but God works in amazing ways.
Our mistakes may cause a lot of hurt to others, or even ourselves. But anyone can sit around, feeling regret for what they have done.
It takes effort and faith to lift our heads and gaze at the face of the One who promises to give us His joy when we ask for it.
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
– Nehemiah 8:10
When we accept His joy in the midst of our mistakes and painful experiences, that reaction of joy is so different and unexpected that we can’t help but begin to reflect His glory to the world around us.
Use Your Mistakes to Teach Others
John Newton’s tombstone is inscribed with the words: “Once an infidel and libertine… by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he had long labored to destroy.”
Even in death, Newton was conscious of his mistakes and the grace that came as a result. In his last breath he said, “I am a great sinner, but Christ is a great Savior.”
Newton let God use his mistakes to point others to the Savior. His freely shared his testimony about his rebellious sinful years in an autobiography. He did so to let others know that if God’s grace could save him, a blind wretch, then God could save them as well.
When we’re transparent about our mistakes, we let others know that no one is ever beyond the reach of God’s grace.
We may suffer for our mistakes. We may beat ourselves up over our mistakes. We may hurt others over our mistakes. But let us never forget that God has the power to redeem and use our worst sins. Just like he used Newton’s.