Your Mistake is Mistaken

7 09 2009

Okay. That’s it. Proverbial straw and camel’s back and stuff.

I’m admittedly a little bit obsessive about this, but, at some point, SOMEONE has to draw the line. Are we just gonna let this stuff go on forever?

To get to the point, I have been amazed at the ever-widening meaning for the term “mistake.” It simply doesn’t seem that words have any real meaning anymore, no way of keeping words in categories so we can actually communicate from a common understanding. Apparently, even our Presidents aren’t sure what the definition of “is” is anymore. Now, in our 24/7 media-driven world, our constant over-exposure to and over-analysis of political scandal, athletes “being athletes,” and celebrities being drug-induced idiots, we apparently have lost the depth and the meaning of the term “mistake.”

When a politican gets caught in the middle of an international sex-scandal, he cries and apologizes for his “mistake.” When a “czar” in the present administration signs his name to a document asking for investigations into the former administration’s role in allowing 9/11 to occur in order to justify military action, he issues an apology for the “mistake.” When an athlete tortures and kills dogs for years but wants to have the privilege to play again (and make millions of dollars), he apologizes for his “mistakes.” When celebrities of any ilk do anything that ranges from the bizarre to the stupid to even the inhumane, they depend on the blind, forgiving culture of America to overlook their “mistakes” and let them back into the unrealistic lives they lead making more money in a week than the average American makes in a year.

Before you get really uncomfortable, my issue here is not whether or not we should be so forgiving. That is another blog altogether. This is about the subtle way we blur the lines of word definitions to allow us to act as we want with as little responsibility as possible.

If I call the wrong number, that’s a mistake. If I neglect to set the alarm clock, that’s a mistake. Should I forget to stop by the store on my way home to pick up the milk my wife needs, that’s a mistake (and a deadly one at that). Mistake doesn’t necessarily exclude severity, but it should have to do somewhat with the absence of volition. I am not choosing to call the wrong number. I am not choosing to leave the alarm off (well, not always). I am not choosing to forget to stop by the store, for why would I choose to pile marital misery upon myself?

Repeated, intentional actions are not “mistakes.” They are choices. Stupid choices. Bad choices. Sinful choices. They require more than just an “I made a mistake” like it’s a craft project in elementary school; they require repentance, and they bring consequences. If we can turn a DUI and manslaughter into a mistake, maybe consequences can be avoided. If we can turn sexual irresponsibility into a mistake, maybe we can escape unscathed. After all, what consequences does the guy who forgets the milk have to suffer? (Oh, if you only knew, grasshopper)

Some actual mistakes can be terrible. They may carry some repercussions that are harsh and costly. Again, it’s not an issue of severity. Neither is it an issue of  a one-time or repeated event. You can repeat mistakes, and you can “one-time” sin. The issue, for the sake of us defining words, is volition. Am I consciously choosing to act in a way that is wrong?

Then don’t cry “mistake.” You’d be mistaken.

Soapbox dismounted.




2 responses

7 09 2009
Rob Murray

Truer words have not been written. We are a ‘mistake prone’ society that has a very short memory.

22 10 2009
Kent Dekker

Oh yeah, the lines have gotten EXTREMELY blurred. We have been BLINDED not just BLURRED by decades of post-modernistic philosophy in our culture and infiltrating our churches without equipping ourselves to recognize, understand, and rebut in love.

What is this philosophy of which I speak? Everything we do that causes pain or suffering for another is just a mistake because there is no absolute right or wrong. The world doesn’t have a single source of morality. It is all relative to our own existence. This has led to some who put it, “We are just born this way or that way.”

Therefore, it is not the choice of a volitional being but just the genetic and physiological encoding that makes us do the things we do. We no longer need scientific evidence of genetic or physiological predisposition. Just get a group of people crying out, “we are born this way,” and the scientific community says, “Ok, it must be true since there are many of you.” It is not the president’s fault, or the czar’s fault, or the fault of anyone practicing any type of sexual deviance since we are all born to think and act as we do. And, btw, you should be tolerant and not judge – both of which are statements that are not tolerant to views opposing the post-modern philosophy and making a judgement in their own right. However, it is not unusual for liberal, post-modern views to be contradictory and/or self-refuting.

It is interesting that these same people don’t want to extend to pedophiles, or those practicing beastiality, or polygamists, or adulterers, etc., the same “cry.” But again, more of the contradictory or self-refuting examples of liberal, post-modernism.

There is a right way to judge (discern): 1. based on God’s word (demonsrated as being divine not human in origin), 2. with a clean heart, 3. with a willingness to forgive and accept one demostrating repentance (as Kris said above)

There is a wrong way to judge: 1. selfishly, 2. hypocritically, 3. with condemnation (clearly stated in the Bible).

We need to be daily “…renewing our minds…” and be ready to “…give an answer for the hope that lies with you…”

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