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April 17, 1999

Learn from Your Mistakes

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As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. PROVERBS 26:11
The picture of a dog returning to its vomit is a disgusting image, to be sure. But, according to Solomon, a person who continues to repeat mistakes and refuses to give up bad habits is just as disgusting.
When you mess up, do you analyze what you did wrong and do everything you can to avoid doing it again? Or do you carelessly continue doing what you’ve always done, only to end up in the same exact predicament time and time again? The old saying goes, “He who does not learn from his mistakes is doomed to repeat them.” But why take that chance? Why would you want to repeat bad behavior if you know good and well it will only get you into trouble?
Maybe it’s a work issue. Perhaps you consistently make the same mistake on the job. You’ve done it so often that your boss no longer even mentions it to you; he just corrects it before sending it on. That might work now, but what happens when you get a new boss? She might be less tolerant of repeated error, and out the door you’ll go.
Or perhaps it’s an ethical failing, a moral failing, or a spiritual failing. You know what will happen when you do it—nothing good ever comes of it—and yet for some reason, you do it anyway. Maybe you like how it feels. Maybe you’re addicted to it. Maybe you don’t have the courage to say no. Maybe you’re just unwise. Whatever the reason, you continue to revisit your sin over and over and over again, just like a dog that returns to its vomit.
Do you really want to engage in such disgusting behavior? Stop the pattern today. Learn from your mistakes. If you don’t, they will lead to your downfall.

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