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Mistakes are expected, as is God’s forgiveness

There’s an old proverb that says: To err is human, to forgive is divine.

It simply reminds us that we all make mistakes from time to time. I recently heard a humorous story that makes the point very clear.

A zoo built a special eight-foot-high enclosure for its newly acquired kangaroo, but the next morning the animal was found hopping around outside.

The director of the zoo increased the height of the fence to 15 feet, but the kangaroo escaped again.

Puzzled, the director had the height increased to 30 feet; but, much to his dismay, the kangaroo was still able to escape.

Watching the director build higher and higher fences, a giraffe asked the kangaroo, “How high do you think they’ll build the fence?”

“I don’t know,” said the kangaroo. “Maybe a 1,000 feet, if they keep leaving the gate unlocked!”

No matter how old and wise we become, as long as we are human, there’s always the possibility for mistakes. Even high-ranking government officials make mistakes.

At ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of Harry S. Truman’s birth, Clark M. Clifford, who was the White House counsel during the Truman administration, was reminiscing. Clifford recalled being at a White House banquet one night when one of the guests turned to the woman seated next to him.

“Did I get your name correctly?” he asked. “Is your name Post?”
“Yes, it is.” the woman replied.

“Is it Emily Post?”


“Are you the world-renowned authority on manners?”

“Yes. Why do you ask?”

“Because,” said the man, “you have just eaten my salad!”

Mistakes are okay as long as we learn from them and don’t make the same mistake twice.

Oswald J. Smith once said, “A real leader will make mistakes. The man who never makes mistakes never does anything. I would rather make a hundred mistakes and accomplish something than to make no mistakes and accomplish nothing. Mistakes are not sins. Man always has and always will err. God allows him to blunder again and again in order to teach him and keep him humble.”

One day, an irate employee went to the paymaster’s window and laid down his pay envelope. Carefully counting the money, he looked the paymaster in the eye and said, “Twenty dollars short.”

The paymaster picked up the envelope and turned to the record sheet to check the amount due.

Smiling broadly, he came back to the window. “Last week we overpaid you 20 dollars,” he explained. “You didn’t complain then.”

“An occasional mistake I can overlook,” replied the angry employee, “but not two in a row!”

Since we all make mistakes, we are all in the same boat together.

That’s why we can take comfort in knowing that God will forgive us of all sin, mistakes and wrong choices we make. 1 Corinthians 6:2 tells us: “…today is the day of salvation.” No matter what we’ve done, God loves us and will forgive us.

All we have to do is ask Him — and that’s no mistake!

Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia