What kind of purpose do my mistakes serve?
What kind of purpose do my mistakes serve? I know that I’ve experienced God’s grace throughout my life- but do I still carry shame? Do I allow myself to believe these following words?
Is this statement true? I believe it is. (1 John 1:19, Micah 7:19, Hebrews 10:15-18)
For the purpose of discussion, let’s make sure we’re on the same page regarding the definition of shame. Shame, according to Webster, “is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety.”
Not all mistakes are sinful. Some mistakes are out of our control or are accidental. Any associated shame is misplaced (but still real and painful, nonetheless). God is faithful in these times. He wants to bring healing by erasing the shame- and he wants to bring something beautiful out of the pain.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Other mistakes are not innocent, but are a result of sin. The associated shame is warranted. Shame should be felt when we bring dishonor to God. We bring dishonor to God when we sin. That’s why it’s so terrible.
Our purpose is to bring glory to God by serving him. It’s what we were made for. So how can our mistakes serve a purpose other than shame? It’s through grace. Grace means Jesus took our shame for us, through his death on the cross. His death and resurrection means that shame is no longer warranted. Our sins are forgiven because of Jesus. Jesus didn’t deserve our punishment. He was perfect. We didn’t deserve forgiveness. It was grace.
Shame serves the purpose of bringing us to repentance, so we can turn away from what brings dishonor to God- but we are not to serve shame. We are to serve God alone- and Jesus has made a way for us to do that. To continue on in shame, after we have accepted the grace of God, is a hindrance to what God has for us. God is faithful in all your mistakes. He has a purpose for you. When you live in light of what Jesus has done for you, you are free to fulfill that purpose.
Sometimes mistakes, sin, and shame are hard to separate or to see clearly. Taking a hard, honest look at our lives, using wise Christian council and the Bible as guidance, is a necessity. Doing so will help us to recognize wrong thinking and to turn away from those things which do not bring glory to God. We do this out of love for God- not out of an effort to effort to earn his love or to atone for our sins. We already have his love and our sins have already been atoned for.
We bring glory to God by becoming more and more like his son, Jesus. We start to exhibit more of his character when we allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen our understanding of the truth about who we already are in Jesus. We have to stop listening to the enemy, who loves to remind us of our past mistakes, and wants to keep us in shame for that which has already been forgiven.
Grace means that our mistakes serve a purpose. God is glorified through our redemption. As the Holy Spirit works in our hearts, we will begin to see evidence of this work, through more “love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
I thank God for his grace and for the Holy Spirit’s continued work in my life. I pray that if you are feeling shame, that the Holy Spirit will speak to you and show you a better way. Through Jesus, you can turn away from that which brings shame and you can be free to fulfill God’s purpose for your life.