“We All Make Many Mistakes” (James 3:2, RSV)

From my Journal for 10 October 1978, Kunjeru, Kenya:

“Read James 3 today and found great comfort in vs. 2 – “For we all make many mistakes…” (RSV).   I am always so afraid of my mistakes – I hate to make them or admit to them, but here in the Bible James says WE (including himself) make MANY mistakes.  Somehow I felt a great relief – it is a relief to realize it is human to make mistakes, not demonic or evil.  And it is an experience of mercy for me to acknowledge my own mistakes.  I hope this realization helps me admit to and accept my failings in the future.”

Though in Orthodoxy there is a fair amount of pressure toward “perfection” – the word “Orthodox” originally implied a correct way of thinking, but it has come to mean for some in Orthodoxy  that there is only one way to think about anything, no questions asked.  It is a pressure that every clergyman must always be infallible.  That fear of being wrong makes it hard for Orthodox clergy to truly repent, for to have to repent is to have to admit that you did something wrong – were not Orthodox!  And this is deemed almost unforgivable in a church which demands repentance and confession of all its members! 

Combine all of that with a personal need to be perfectly correct and to never error, and you end up with spiritual insanity.

St. James in verse 3:2, speaks about everyone stumbling, erring, making mistakes.  It cannot be avoided.  This is why we pray that we spend the remaining time of our life in repentance.  We all are sinners, and yet God loves us while we were sinners – He doesn’t wait until we are perfect.

It is OK to have to admit to being wrong, to failing, to erring, to making mistakes.   God loves us anyway.

A very hard concept for those of us who feel the need to be perfect.

One thought on ““We All Make Many Mistakes” (James 3:2, RSV)

  1. troonrose

    amen! The older I get, the more I apologize and laugh at self easily for mistakes and the more eagerly I fly to confession to unburden myself of sins. A much easier “yoke” than perfectionism which always fed my pride (or other way around)? Anyway, amen! I am reading through your repentance blogs, very helful in this Lenten season.

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