Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up, but the wicked will stumble into ruin. Mishle (Proverbs) 24:16
Have you ever had a relationship in which you think too much is at stake to make a mistake? There are mistakes and there are mistakes. In the first case there are mistakes made because of the nature of the person. Armando Ramos, of the BTG Movement*, holds there is a difference between habitual sin and sin because of weakness. In the first instance the sin is committed habitually by those who do not care what happens and don’t care if they sin against the L-rd, and in the second instance, flawed every day people who desperately want to please the L-rd and do things right, fail through weaknesses, and sin. Ramos notes that sin of the believer is the second sort.
The word sin means to miss the mark, failure to achieve the target. The failure is a sin, but the good news is, Maschiach paid the penalty for our weaknesses and sin. We are forgiven. We are clean. We are pure. Don’t get hung up on perfection and doing everything 100 per cent right. No single human being is that exacting in execution. Famed investor Warren Buffet said, “I would never get too hung up on mistakes. I know a lot of people who really agonize over them, it just isn’t worth it. Tomorrow’s another day, just go on to the next thing.”
If you apply this principle, it doesn’t mean you don’t care for the consequences of a mistake or of sin, it means that we’ve been forgiven, and heed the advice of Shlomo (Solomon), wisest man to ever live, “as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly.” Learn from the mistake and move on. Then forget the failure, don’t relive it, don’t clutch the failure as a badge of honor for all to see. Don’t let that failure define you, just move on, do something new with what you learned.
Gary Vaynerchuk (Entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and internet personality) was asked about his success, “How much of that is luck vs preparation. What do you do when you make a mistake?” His answer is revealing, “I did everything wrong, It’s just that I can’t recall. I am moving on to the next thing. Dwelling on what you f—-d up on is the quickest way for the next thing not to work.”
The key point to understand is you are going to make mistakes. Some will be small mistakes, and some will be larger. In order to grow and mature, learn from your mistake, don’t repeat the same mistake. These men, speaking as businessmen and about business success related failure as something to learn from, not relive. Vaynerchuk added, “If you’re worried about your own mistakes you’ve already lost.”
Mistakes and Marriage
Research has demonstrated that there are two responses to mistakes. One is to learn from it and move on, and the other is a combination of different factors rolled into one. The combination is found in people who do not attempt to learn from their mistake and make it over and over again, people who are so distraught over their failure they never get to Vaynerchuk’ s “next thing, and people who are so intolerant of the mistakes of others they condemn them. All of these practices add insult to injury.
Adding these separate secondary factors to marriage is a recipe for disaster. Why don’t some spouses seem to learn from their mistakes? One obvious answer is they were never told. My first wife would become upset over something I’d done and not tell me, not aloud. I would find out when she wouldn’t speak to me, or would say something back to me (as if I’d deliberately sinned against her) starting an argument as I strove to find out what I ‘d done and she refused to tell me. Had she simply told me what I did, I would have gladly asked for help in avoiding the behavior for her benefit. And my then wife had a habit of rehashing failure in her mind and of assuming I knew my mistake, my sin.
By not telling me I fell into a pattern of making the same mistakes over and over. Am I exonerating myself? No. Simply put, I was and am dedicated enough that when I find out I screwed up I want a chance to fix it, to make things right. Finally, though my ex-spouse was not one to hold on for too very long to past mistakes, her mother was a champion of being wounded. Years after we were married my mother-in-law still held a grudge for the way we were married. She had wanted a society wedding with the huge cake, huge dress, huge everything and we denied her that by eloping. She was offended and unforgiving and made sure we knew it 15 years later, even to driving her daughter to despair.
The best way to move through life is in the mind of Yeshua. If your spouse makes a mistake, don’t save them up for a rainy day and unload on him or her. Practice forgiveness, practice mercy, and practice love.
Peter asked Yeshua how many times should a brother be forgiven?
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
Essentially that means every time they repent, forgive and move on. An old parable goes something like this (and is good advice for marriage), “don’t sweat the small stuff, and they’re all small stuff.”
Are you sweating the small stuff in your marriage?
Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval
* BTG Movement has been shut down
Edited: June 28, 2020