December 11, 2007
MUSING OVER MISTAKES
by Charles R. Swindoll
1 Samuel 15
When it comes to mistakes, we need a great deal of tolerance. And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt, either.
I ran across an embarrassing mistake recently in the sports section of the newspaper. A volleyball coach was being featured, and the article went on and on about her background, superb ability, win-loss record, and style of coaching. The next day, tucked away in a much less obvious place, was a one-sentence apology, which said that the coach was, in fact, a man, not a woman. Ouch!
Who hasn’t happened upon one every once in a while in a church bulletin? One of my all-time favorites was the announcement letting people know about a “sing-in” following an evening service. Unfortunately, this is the way it appeared: “There will be a sin-in at the Johnson home immediately following the pastor’s evening message on ‘Intimate Fellowship.’”
There are even a few human-error scenes in Scripture that strike me as nothing short of hilarious.
Among my favorites is the one tucked away in 1 Samuel 15 where King Saul was commanded by Samuel, very clearly, that he should not only destroy the Amalekites, but also every living creature in the region of the Amalekites. He went, he saw, he slew . . . but instead of total annihilation, he captured the king and also spared a lot of the animals.
When Samuel heard of the king’s disobedience, the prophet showed up and asked why. Saul lied. “I have carried out the command of the Lord,” he said.
Samuel’s line is classic: “(You obeyed, huh?) What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”
Can’t you just picture it? All the time old Saul’s mouth was moving, there was this strange mixture of animal sounds in the distance. No, his sin wasn’t funny . . . but the way he got caught red-handed was. The animals told on him!
So long as there is humanity on this old earth, there will be mistakes and failures. If you can’t tolerate those who make them, I’d suggest you stop making them yourself!
General John Sedgwick did. In fact, his last words were spoken while looking over the parapet at the enemy line during the Battle of Spotsylvania in 1864. With great gusto he sneered, “They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist—”
Remember, when it comes to mistakes, we need a great deal of tolerance. And a sense of humor doesn’t hurt either.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.