A person, who has never made a mistake, learns nothing. This is a truism or a self-evident truth. "He who does nothing makes no mistakes. He who makes no mistakes does not learn." (Luca Pacioli, the Father of Accounting)
Mistakes are part of anyone's life. They are NOT failures to be rued, but indispensable ingredients that impart color, content and meaning to one's education through the journey called life. Each mistake is, then, a 'step behind' as one ascends the ladder of enlightenment, wisdom and maturity. St. Paul writes in Phil. 3:13&14, "... but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for
the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Everyone, no matter how resourceful, learned or scholarly, commits mistakes either of fact or judgment. What is important is that these should be realized in time, and duly acknowledged to prevent their aftermath. But stubborn people seldom admit to their mistakes even after they have been brought to their notice. History is replete with errors of omission and commission by kings and statesmen who are not infallible. Much of the world's misery is on account of their refusal to admit that they are wrong. King David's greatness was that he recognized his folly when confronted by Nathan; he readily confessed it with genuine remorsefulness and sought divine forgiveness to be spiritually healed and restored.
The greater a person, the more readily does he admit to his error(s). During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed an order, transferring certain regiments, with a view to pleasing an insistent influential politician. Stanton, his Secretary of War, refused to implement it, saying: "Lincoln is a damn fool for ever signing it." When the remark eventually reached Lincoln's ears, he agreed: "If Stanton said I am a damn fool, then I must be, because he is nearly always right. I will step over, and see him." Stanton, a shrewd strategist in matters of war and peace, convinced Lincoln that the order should never have been signed, and Lincoln INSTANTLY revoked the order. A lesser leader would have frowned upon his Secretary's rash outspokenness, and overruled him with disastrous consequences.
Mistakes, when admitted, are no longer mistakes, but lessons learnt for future guidance. It is pride that stands in the way of one's admitting mistakes. "Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not keep with you. Many are the pangs of the wicked." (Ps. 32:9&10).
The endless litigation in our Church will continue unabated unless both the factions humble themselves to learn from their numerous mistakes of the past, and seek divine guidance for rapprochement to herald a new era of enduring peace and unity.
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen,
Austin, TX. (ID. No. 4160)
"Waste not your time in vain regret
Learn from mistakes and then forget!" (R. Gibbon)