Everybody Makes Mistakes

 
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One of the most difficult things for many people to do is admit that they have made a mistake or that they are wrong.  I have made so many mistakes, some intentional and some unintentional, that I could fill a book with my shortcomings.  Heck, there are things I probably did wrong that I don’t even know about.  No one is perfect and no one ever has been nor likely ever will be.

Mistakes can be classified as “sins” however that word is better interpreted as “falling short”.  The innate nature of a human being to focus inward instead of outward is the cause of the majority of our mistakes.  Then there are those unintentional ones that happen randomly which, although they may seem unintentional, can be corrected with effort.  Even though perfection as a human being is not possible, it is something that we should constantly pursue.  You can not throw your hands up and say I am who I am and I can’t change who I am.  This is the furthest thing from the truth.  You can’t change others, but you can absolutely change yourself.  Is this easy? Of course not, but it is possible.

Jewish tradition has a pretty interesting system for keeping the ethics and morals of the Torah fresh on the mind.  It is the tradition of wearing the tzitzit.  These are those tassels you see Orthodox Jews wear on the corners of their pants.  If you have ever wondered why they wear them there are actually 2 reasons:  The first is that it is a commandment and the second is to act as a constant reminder to, put it blunt, behave!

Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, that they shall make themselves fringes on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and they shall put on the corner fringe a blue (tekhelet) thread.  ~ Numbers 15:38

Now before you freak out, I am not telling you to go to the nearest Judaica store and buy some of these, I am just trying to convey the concept that in order to correct yourself or change behaviors it may be necessary to put reminders in place to help you.  (If you are Jewish and the tzitzit sound like a good idea to you – by all means do it!  You may help someone else remember in the process.)

Some other Jewish traditions include a head covering.  This one has also been adopted by the Amish, Muslims, and Catholic clergy.  The head covering is a reminder of the importance of humility.  Have you ever noticed that the “nicest” people you know are typically very humble?  Humility and kindness go hand in hand.  The first shortcoming we all should be aware of is vanity (this is one I am very guilty of myself).  How do you cure vanity?  I wish I knew what the silver bullet was for this one, but one of the things that I have been trying to do myself is think of someone I know that I admire for their kindness, charity, and humility, or I think of the many things I have done that I can’t undo.  If I am so great they never would have happened or I would have the power to undo them.  This has to be done with a measure of positivity though as well.  Otherwise you dig yourself into a hole of worthlessness as if you are some terrible wretch that deserves to be punished.  

There is a misconception by the Christian church that the Torah was designed to “show our sins” and that because of our sins we are destined to hell.  This is written nowhere in the Torah or the Prophets.  In fact it is the exact opposite.  The Torah was designed to show us how we should live and the way we should strive to be perfect.  Yes, there are things that are dated and maybe seem to make no sense – like being forbidden to eat pork.  However, when you peel back the layers and see that this was not just a dietary restriction for the sake of healthy foods (lets face it pork is very high in sodium) it was to suppress man’s thirst for blood. 

Is it possible to follow all the rules in the Torah?  No.  Did anyone ever achieve such a level of perfection? No.  (To my Christian friends please do not take offense.  The very first command given to man was to “be fruitful and multiply”.  Jesus had no children and there is nothing in Christian scriptures that indicates any attempt was even made to fulfill this command.  He therefore fell short).    Do you have to follow all 613 rules?  Only if you are Jewish.  If you are not Jewish there are really only 7 rules to follow.  These are known as the Noahide laws and they are:

  1. Acknowledge that there is only one God who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as prayer, study and meditation.
  2. Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.
  3. Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.
  4. Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman is a reflection of the oneness of God and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that oneness.
  5. Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on God rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.
  6. Respect God’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.
  7. Maintain justice. Justice is God’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the act of sustaining the creation.

So what do you do when you fall short?  The good news is there isn’t some horrific place where you will suffer for an eternity because you stole a snickers bar or lied to your mom.  However, you have to acknowledge the mistake and make a conscious effort to not repeat it.  If you have done something to someone else you have to apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Whether they forgive you or not is on their merit.  For those things you do (or don’t do) that had no impact on someone else you need to recognize the mistake and strive not to repeat it.

A parting thought for reflection:

What is worse, the mistakes you have made or the opportunities for doing a good deed that you have avoided?

(Note the text for the Seven Noahide Laws is from www.chabad.org)

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light

8 thoughts on “Everybody Makes Mistakes

  1. Very interesting. I would say that missing an opportunity to do a good deed and making a mistake could be considered one and the same. Depending on the exact situation, I’ve felt similar levels of angst about both things I’ve done as well as things I’ve avoided.

    I really like how you highlighted the need to focus on acknowledging the mistake and trying to do better in the future. Sometimes it’s easy to justify mistakes instead of seeing them as opportunities for growth.

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    • While Paul did not specifically say hell in any of his letters- he did say that the only way to be “saved’ or be rewarded with “everlasting life” was through faith in Jesus. The opposite of which is being condemned and punished with eternal damnation. As you know this doctrine became the general Christian belief to suffer in hell for all eternity. (Your book brilliantly corrects this misguided belief but, it doesn’t change the fact that it is the current doctrine of most churches.)

      I do not believe in the Millenial Kindom because that advocates Jesus as a divine being that will rule earth for 1,000 years. A divine savior that will rule mankind is not prophecied anywhere in the Torah or the Prophets.

      I do hope for a Messianic Era (don’t we all) where all men live in peace and nation does not raise a sword against another nation.

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  2. Nelson, you need to spend more time studying the Greek 😀 (and I thought you would have picked up more of this in Raising Hell). “Saved” is “sozo” and is more accurately rendered “healed” and “made whole.” Paul certainly said we could only find healing through the Anointed Jesus, but he never even talked about “everlasting life.” He only spoke of eonian life, which was most often (as I fully explored in RH) about life pertaining to the ages and, specifically, life pertaining to this age–NOW. Paul never spoke of any such thing as eternal damnation in a correct translating of his writings.

    It sounds to me more by your statement, “Your book brilliantly corrects this misguided belief but, it doesn’t change the fact that it is the current doctrine of most churches” that your beef is (or should be) with churches and their false interpretations, and not with an accurate translation of the New Testament.

    I beg to differ on the Torah and it prophesying of both a Millennial Kingdom and a “ruler.” The whole story of Joseph ruling over his brothers I believe is one of many such prophetic pictures. However, I also believe that it is not just “Jesus” ruling over nations with peace, but those who faithful and just. Joseph’s coat of many colors represented anointed rulers from many nations.

    Of course, you hopefully saw how I see it playing out with an MK (Sabbath Rest, “7th Day”) and an 8th Day or Judgment. You can hardly read the Torah or the prophets without seeing rife promises of such a Kingdom as you describe in your last paragraph.

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    • You are correct. My beef is more with the corrupted doctrines of the church than it is with Paul.

      I think you forget that I do not study the Christian testament that much anymore. The corruption of Constantine and the eclectic compilation that derived from the various councils cast serious doubts in my mind as to it’s authenticity. So with me not utilizing that body of text you and I may not always see things in the same way.

      Joseph (as is most of the Torah) was an allegory and his life did foreshadow the united kingdom of King David and in a way the eventual Messianic Era. There was no “millennial” aka 1,000 years with one ruler as part of that prophecy though (we seem to partially agree on that concept although it’s not in tune with the church)

      Perhaps its time I start delving back into the Christian Scripture but, also the Quran as well. Maybe even Plato. I’ve gotten so immersed in Torah lately that I’ve unintentionally strayed from my universal path.

      Thanks for the wake-up call!

      Sent from my iPhone

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  3. There’s much to say…we need that (all day?) coffee chat. I so think you misunderstand Paul. I too have studied a lot about those early centuries (the corruption) and Scriptures, but Paul is seriously so on line with everything in the Torah when you A. translate correctly and B. understand the ways he is correlating. I used to hate Paul’s writings but now that I get them, I find them stunning in the bigger picture.

    I love the notion of how the Jews get together to study and chew on Scriptures together. I do that with a few of my friends now and it’s so fun. We all learn a lot from each other.

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