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March 27, 2012 / beidson

Grace Covers Your Mistakes (Not Just Your Sin)

I have a hard time believing that God is okay with my mistakes.  I know he can handle my sin, but when it comes to my lack of planning, my oversight, and my ignorance, I tend to think that there’s no room for forgiveness.  Good thing I’m wrong.

Have you ever felt like this, like there are things in your life that are completely your fault because you failed to pay attention to details, plan ahead, save enough money, spend time with the right people, pursue the best opportunities, make the wisest choices, or just use common sense?  Do you ever feel like God looks down on you and says, “That one’s on you,” as if he only cares about your sin and suffering, but not your “oops” moments?

We often push our mistakes into a gray area outside of grace, where the blame rests entirely on our shoulders.  And maybe it does, but we also carry with that a false sense of rejection and failure.  In a twisted sort of way, we often feel better about our situation when we sin than we just mess up.  We think, “Jesus died for my sin” but we’re not quite sure what Jesus did for our goofs and screw-ups.  The good thing is that Jesus died for these too.

There’s a story in the Gospel of Mark about the disciples’ poor planning (8:14-21).  Just after Jesus had fed 4,000+ people with a few loaves of bread and some fish, they got into a boat and headed out to another town.  As it turns out, the disciples only brought a single loaf of bread with them to feed a boat-load of men.  And as usual, they started to argue with each other about who was responsible for not packing a brown bag.  Somebody made a mistake.  It wasn’t sin; it was just stupid.

But Jesus’ response was typical too.  He basically said, “Hey, look guys, I just fed thousands of people with a fish sandwich.  I can feed you too.”  The disciples knew that Jesus was powerful—they had seen it in the miracle.  What they overlooked though was that the point of the miracle wasn’t power—it was provision.  He was willing to feed a massive crowd of people who had left home without packing a lunch, and he would take care of his disciples too.

Jesus’ best friend, Peter, knew this well.  He cut off a man’s ear in a moment of misguided passion, and Jesus simply picked up the man’s ear and put it back on his head.  Jesus graciously corrected Peter’s rash decision.  He provided a new ear for the soldier, and another chance for Peter.

Grace doesn’t just save us from hell; it can save face too.  We’re going to make mistakes, and when we do, we have to rely on the gospel in those moments like we would any other time.  It’s not a problem for Jesus to clean up our messes—he’s really good at making things new again.  So ask God for what you need, regardless of why you need it.


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