“To make no mistakes is not in the power of man; but from their errors and mistakes the wise and good learn wisdom for the future” (PLUTARCH C.46–AFTER 119)
When you buy pencils these days, you may have two options – just an ordinary pencil, or perhaps one capped with an eraser. Have you ever thought that to be rather strange? Why should the manufacturers of pencils provide an eraser as well? It’s because they know that we all make mistakes.
When we are writing we may be careless in recording something that is incorrect, or we have made a spelling mistake. We might have drawn something and put a line in the wrong place. What the manufacturers of pencils are saying in effect is that we all err and fall short of perfection. And it’s true. No one who uses a pencil to write a note, record a ‘phone number, does a crossword, take a message or draw a picture, can be sure of not making a mistake. That little piece of rubber on the end of a pencil can be both useful and convenient. These days, with computers, we are advised not to type or write things down but to cut and paste, so avoid possible errors. And hooray for spell-checkers.
Isn’t that true of life? As we look back over the year we can all think of incidents that could have been avoided, words that should not have been said, foolish acts and failures and faults that should not have occurred. Some of those things might have caused someone unhappiness, inconvenience or even harm. To err is human, but when the eraser wears out ahead of the pencil, you’re overdoing it. And it’s not only trivial matters. Wars have been lost and great men and women have caused pain and tragedy because of bad decisions.
Jesus relates an incident in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. It speaks of a king who erased a debt owed by a servant because of an inability to pay. Yet that same servant refused to rub out a much smaller amount owed to him and had the debtor thrown into prison. When the king heard about this he was furious and had the servant handed over to the jailers. The Apostle Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him. Should it be up to seven times? “Not seven times,” said Jesus, “but seven times seventy.”
Psalm 32, verse 5 tells us that if we acknowledge our sin to God and don’t try to conceal it, He will forgive us. Just as we can break a pencil, so our pride must be broken, but not as easily.
Let us be thankful that God will erase all our transgressions, our faults and our errors, if we ask for His forgiveness. Like the rubber on the end of a pencil, as He writes so He will erase, if we repent and come to Him. “Who errs and mends, to God himself commends.” (Miguel De Cervantes 1547–1616)
Have a good week. Pastor Ron Optional
Bible reading: Psalm 32
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-sixth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email send to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions. Pastor Ron Clarke OAM Word for the Week Mbl.: +61 488 424 321