Today, we’re continuing our Good Word theme of “learning,” and this verse highlights the value of learning vicariously through other people’s mistakes and flaws.
Recently, I heard a sister say something in church that shows remarkable maturity. This sister made a lot of mistakes and engaged in quite a bit of sin before giving her life to the Lord.
She said, “I used to tell people, ‘I don’t regret any of the things I did back then because I learned from those mistakes.’ But now, I’ve changed my mind. I am so, so sorry for the things that I did, and I wish I’d never done them. I could’ve learned to follow God without making so many mistakes. In fact, my life would’ve gone so much better if I’d made better choices.”
What’s your reaction to this sister’s statement?
- Is there shame in making mistakes?
- Are we to blame if we watch someone make a mistake and then choose to make the same mistake ourselves?
- In what ways do we sometimes unconsciously justify our sins and shortcomings?
These are the kinds of questions that you can discuss at length with the saints of God around a table, drinking hot coffee and dunking biscotti.
Although there’s great value in “learning for yourself,” there’s also great value in learning vicariously. (Both types of learning are praised in Proverbs.) We learn vicariously when we study the lives of people in scripture. Can we also do it by studying the lives of people we know in the here and now? Which do you think is better, learning directly or vicariously? What kind of value does each carry?
Brew the coffee and start the discussion!
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.