Making mistakes well

An email including familiar advice on career development arrived in my inbox this week.

“Do not publicize your mistakes.”

It makes sense. If you’re working hard on a project, you want to be recognised for it. Any praise coming your way will be weakened if others know the mistakes you made along the way.

So before long, our mistakes can easily become our secrets.

Weak

But this is silly. We all make mistakes. We know that we all make mistakes. Work can be hard. Sometimes we don’t understand things. We feel out of our depth. We need help.

Sometimes we just mess things up that we should have done better.

But despite knowing that everyone does this, we hide our mistakes away. And this is because we’re afraid to admit that we are the very thing our culture teaches us not to be.

Weak. We are dependent, needy and flawed. All of us.

Strong

But professing Christians are already admitting to weakness (Romans 3:23). We’re saying we need someone perfect to stand in the gap between me, a flawed human, and a perfect, flawless God.

Only here do we find God’s grace and the freedom be honest about our weakness. We are now children and imitators of the God who died weakly to display his strength (2 Corinthians 13:4).

Free

So as his followers we need to embrace our weakness and die to ourselves. We’re free to admit our mistakes at work (and elsewhere) and to say sorry for them.

We’re free to be needy, flawed and, and to some extent incompetent. We’re free to learn from our mistakes. God will use them to grow us.

He will use you and your willingness to embrace your weakness to reveal to others what is true.

That we are weak. He is strong. And his strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).