Thursday, November 4, 2010
Mistakes Are Not Sins And the Difference Is Important
We know what the columnist means for we have had the same experience. If we splatter something on our clothes we want as quickly as possibly to change our clothes. We feel awkward. We know that nobody will see the spot or be interested or concerned, but still it bothers us. It's not the spot that really is the problem.
Humans make mistakes. That is no surprise and is to be expected. But we freguently are overcome by what we have done, are ashamed, blame ourselves and worry about what others will think; and here we are not talking about big issues but trifles. If one is mature and has his emotions under control, he can admit to mistakes. And if he has hurt someone, humbly admit it, be sorry and apologize. By doing so, we do not lose our peace of mind and can be more attentive to the needs of others.
At times like the child, many blame themselves for small mistakes and are embarrassed to a degree that is beyond reason; we try to erase what was done but that only magnifies the incident, and in an effort to escape feelings of guilt we may blame circumstances and even family.
This effort to eradicate the memory of what was done is exhausting and ultimately self-destructive. We should be thinking of the present and not the past. Even though I can make a mistake anytime, and probably will, and unknowingly hurt someone, that should not paralyze me. Being open and magnanimous will make amends for the faults that I have and make up for my failings.
We should jettison our list of past mistakes and start living in the present. As Catholics we do understand what sin is and how harmful it can be to ourselves and others. With sorrow and a willingness to change, we know we are forgiven. However, when we make a mistake or some fault is committed and we let that bother us as if it were deliberate, we are not understanding who we are and making an error in judgement that can be very harmful in our lives. The difference between a sin and a mistake is not a small difference--they are worlds apart. Keeping them separate, refusing to confuse the two, will make a big difference on how we see ourselves and how we live our lives.