God loves the mistakes

My convictions and beliefs… all correct, of course, no mistakes within my writings. This conviction that the title suggests is probably my way of patting myself on the back and not beating myself up, although I think it is more than this. God actually loves the mistakes we make. So…

Humanity made in the image and likeness of God, in simple language we are somewhat like God, hence a truly authentic humanism can only be a good thing. To see, love, serve and uphold humanity is on a spectrum toward theism. At some level we might also be able to say God is a little bit like us, and in the ultimate human that likeness connected so deeply that Jesus was ‘the express image’ of God.

However (all posts need at least one ‘however’) there is an endowment to humanity that God does not embody, it is the gift of making mistakes (though there are a few ‘regrets’ in Scripture when God considers the mess we have made). Sin is a perversion of how we are to live, mistakes are the markers on my path to glory – or at least they can be. I know Paul wrote about ‘faith to faith’ and ‘glory to glory’ but I think maybe we should also write ‘mistake to mistake’. Mistakes are not the opposite of faith or of glory and I suspect that all three words are pretty closely related.

I debated putting into the title the word ‘honest’ as in ‘honest mistakes’ but I suspect God is considerably bigger than simply including the honest ones. Why a gift to make mistakes? Cos it is at the heart of learning. All learning involves mistakes. No Michelin star chef woke up one morning to stun the guests with her cuisine… a process of learning. Everyone surely can say ‘if I had my time over again I would do it differently’ or ‘I wouldn’t do it that way again’. Stupidity has an amazing ability to be incredibly personal, to manifest in the space that I inhabit. It becomes dangerous when it is over combined with regret. In the moments when inspiration breaks through into my space I realise that I am where I am today because of the path I have come along. If I had done things differently I would be in a different place… but where I am now is the one place I should be in order to go forward – that is a huge privilege.

When our mistakes – including our honest ones – affect others around us negatively regret, apology if possible is in order… but there are mistakes that are simply ours. By all means pause and reflect and positively learn but by more than all means(!) get over them. Move forward, and yes you might make the same mistake again – two or more opportunities to learn.

God gave us a gift, an ability to make mistakes, to get things wrong (some theologians seem to have developed this gift, so says this amateur). And I think God enjoys it when we make (honest) mistakes as we manifest what it is to be human, and if I could only manifest a little more humanness, I might just reflect a little more ‘Godness’.

Mistakes… learning… perfect

The making mistakes gift

‘In the image of God’… perfect? No, but good. Humanity was never ‘created’ perfect (aside: nor ‘given’ an immortal soul). Such ideas are not formed from the earthy theology of the Bible, but the ‘ideal’ world of the Greeks. The theology that looks for a way out; God is always searching for a way in.

The incarnation. Jesus is sinless, but not ‘perfect’. Or, at least, he is not intrinsically perfect in the sense the word is used of humans in Scripture, the sense of ‘mature’. To arrive at maturity is a process. And it was a process also for Jesus.

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings (Heb. 2:10).

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Heb. 4:8,9).

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour (Luke 2:52).

A growth in wisdom, a path toward maturity. True humanity, that which Jesus exhibited, is not ‘perfection’ as suggested to us from our infected-by-Hellenistic-philosophy theology, but it is one that embraces mistakes, of holding to a position that has to be later abandoned, and moved on from it. We are all influenced by our culture, the wider cultures and the closer culture of the faith we have embraced.

Jesus learned.

Perfection is not the measure of true humanness, but learning, adapting, changing is the measure.

We know the classic example of Jesus learning from the Syro-Phoenician woman’s response; or when we consider the ‘who knew better?’ question related to Jesus or his mother in John 2! Or maybe the washing of feet of the disciples (John 13) was provoked by the washing of his feet by Mary of Bethany earlier (John 12).

Did Jesus learn in those situations? I reply with a resounding ‘for sure’. For sure, not simply because I wish to affirm his humanity, but because I wish to affirm his (sinless) true humanness.

This post might only be for me… To learn to embrace mistakes, not to see them as ‘sin’, as ‘failure’ but as the door provided to enable me to mature.

One of God’s good gifts to humanity is the ability to make mistakes.

God is God, and sadly we project on to God our humanity. ‘Anger’, ‘slow to forgive without proper repayment and forgiveness’; we tend to make God in our image, or the ‘idealised’ image of humanity (with all our imperfections). The two above examples are classic: wrath, but never are the anger of humans and the anger of God compared… and forgiveness… hence we end up with a transactional cross and a divided Trinity. Then we tend to make Jesus, as human, into ‘our’ God as human, so true humanness becomes something that provokes us to become even less human than we are! As if!!!

In the Garden we were tempted to become ‘as God’… the problem has always been a desire to become like the ‘God’ we perceive! Hence the purification we go through to act with power. The theology that sanctifies getting to the ‘top’.

It is all cut down when God becomes like us, the incarnation. Here is the image of God; here indeed is God.

(And the get to the top ideology is somewhat mocked in the tower of Babel story. The tower will reach heaven… God in heaven has to come ‘down’ to see it. Not so high after all. Hence, all the centres of power are not what they seem, they will all be unfinished, they will not reach the heights they proclaim. The small stone is always more effective than the great image that is created.)

The incarnation. And God in human form learns.

Long live mistakes. (Again written for me.) I guess it is not likely I hit the bulls eye today.