Catholic Husband

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Ponder Your Mistakes

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins. It’s a fatal character flaw that is regularly found in men. Certainly women can be guilty of the sin of pride, but it seems to almost be ingrained in the male psyche. Pride blinds us to our shortcomings, robbing us of our chance to become a better person.

I’m really bad about dwelling on my past mistakes. It seems like it’s easier for me to remember all of the wrong things I’ve done in the past, as opposed to many of the wonderful experiences I’ve been able to have. For a long time, I’d try to change the subject. I would focus on something else and hope that the bad memories would go away. What I didn’t realize was that considering my past mistakes, especially my past sins, can be an extraordinary tool in the spiritual and married life.

You’re not the boy you used to be. You’re a man. It’s ok to recognize that you haven’t always made the right choices and sometimes, you couldn’t have been more wrong. Perfect is a myth. In fact, it’s a lie. It’s literally impossible for you to be perfect. As a human, you are, by definition, imperfect. Trying to be perfect is trying to make yourself God. Not going to happen.

The past is an excellent teacher, not a best friend. The past is for learning, for understanding, and for course correction. It’s more of a lighthouse than a ship. When you dwell on the past, you miss the present and that’s a real shame.

It seems that there’s a balance that needs to be struck. We have to spend enough time contemplating our past mistakes to learn valuable lessons, but not so long that we become obsessive about them. Pondering your mistakes have some real tangible benefits.

  • It can show you God’s capacity for love. We’ve all done some serious sinning. If we were put in God’s position, we wouldn’t forgive, let alone forget, our egregious transgressions. And there’s the beauty. We can sit there in awe of God’s great love and mercy.
  • It can show you God’s role in your life. When we conquer sin, it’s easy to start to think that we did it on our own. We might even get a bit prideful (see what I did there?) and taunt the Devil. That never works. When we know the sin we were in and see what our life is like free from it, it makes it transparently clear that God is actively involved in our lives.
  • It makes our flaws transparent. When you’re overweight, you can’t hide it in the mirror. After all, you can only hold in your breath for so long. An honest look at our lives can help us see where we need to learn and grow. Only a review of our lives can help us see patterns that are the symptoms of deeper problems.

Don’t be too hard on yourself. You know more than you used to. But don’t be so soft that your mistakes don’t inspire change. Strike the balance, effect change, and do it right starting today.