Devotion: Mistakes at Christmas

Rom. 8:1   There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

This article that came across my Facebook feed this week, reminded how dependent I am on GRACE.

As people surrendered their privacy rights to have MAEWWWW republish their first Facebook Photo, as teenagers are repeatedly warned about their digital footprint, as Odell Beckham’s actions were imprinted on NFL game film, this article demonstrates well that our foolish mistakes will never digitally disappear.  UPDATE:  Just heard about Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe mistake…so the examples are aplenty.

Jim Folsom is just the newest victim of a digital legacy that won’t go away (and Steve Harvey’s extremely awkward mistake). He called Cam Newton a “sure-fire bust.” And with Cam’s likely MVP status secured this year, this article is being resurrected.

It is amazing the energy expended in dog piling on this article. For some reason we are motivated by exposing people’s failures. For some reason we rejoice in the mistakes of others. For some reason draws 15 million people each month to gawk.
Why do we relish the opportunity to expose another’s mistakes?

I think it allows us to avoid having to reflect on our own shortcomings.

I was recently talking with a parent who was struggling with a teenager using pot and having sex. As they expressed, “How can I expect them not to, when I did this stuff?”

In that moment, I realized they had not experienced the freedom of forgiveness. They have harbored the lingering effects of their mistakes. And though not digitally recorded to be displayed, retweeted, and resurrected, the pain of their mistake lingered. This has muted their ability to parent and lead their family. It was easier to avoid than to seek Christ’s forgiveness.

As we prepare for Christmas, and the birth of our Savior, we should recognize that this is why Christ arrived as child into our world. To set us free from the pain of our past.

As we see another stumble, we should avoid reposting their shame and simply say, “There but the grace of God [and lack of internet when I was a child] goes I.”

Peterson’s translation of Romans 7 demonstrates the earthy struggle Paul and each of us face when we confront our mistakes this Christmas.

Romans 7:24-25
I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?
The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

Seeing our true nature only makes the words of Roman 8:1 and the birth of Christ even more powerful.

So if you undercook the Christmas ham, if over-drink the company punch, if you honk at the person at the ATMachine, if you leave your family in the lurch, if you lose your Fantasy Football finals, if you stumbled in the darkness this week, may you see the Light of Christ that illumines a new way forward.

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