It strikes me as worth noting that man has struggled with the same challenges throughout time. Witness what the Roman statesman, Cicero, who lived from 106 BC to 43 BC, wrote all those centuries ago. We observe these obstacles in our every day lives in the 21st century and as you can read in his writing, he lamented that humanity had been struggling with these six mistakes for centuries before his birth!
“Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;Marcus Tullius Cicero
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.”
As I continue on my journey through life and my walk of faith I seem to encounter these challenges again and again. They are my daily companions as I wrestle with them mightily and watch others do the same.
For a significant portion of my life I was decidedly more focused on how I might overcome these challenges. Now that I find myself in the second half of my life, I am “equally decidedly” as I was the first half to make it for and about God and others in this half. Nonetheless, I wrestle daily.
In the second half, my lens has changed on the wrestling match. I no longer feel that it is me trying to overcome my weakness and grow smarter and stronger, although I do strive to grow stronger and smarter each day, for the sake of caring for the body, mind and soul I’ve been given.
Instead, I see myself as a creation of God, who, although I am flawed and born into a broken world, acknowledges himself as wonderfully and beautifully made.
Instead, I see myself as someone who was created for something and set, from birth, on a quest to find that something and fulfill it.
Instead, I see Cicero’s illusion of personal gain being made up of crushing others as the reality of being pressed, like a grape into the new wine that my Father has already tasted.
Instead, I release the tendency to worry about things that cannot be changed or corrected, much more quickly, because I have a place of endless acceptance to bring them to.
Instead, I no longer insist that impossible things are impossible, because I have seen the impossible made possible, the further I walk down the path of faith.
Instead, I am more easily prone to set aside trivial preferences for more profound ones.
Instead, I no longer feed my mind simply to overcome my shortcomings, but to develop and refine it to become what I have been asked to become for whom I’ve been asked to serve and show up for.
Instead, I feel compelled to tell my story, not to compel others to believe and live as I do, for the sake of sameness and my associated personal safety and comfort, but because I want for them what I have tasted. I want more for them than what they even know they can have. I want them to enjoy something that defies the six mistakes of man and the 60 billion mistakes of man.
Instead, I want for them to know that one man, who lived shortly after Cicero, gave his life so that we may have a life free from reliving the six mistakes in the exact same way we did in Cicero’s time.
One man, who was more than a man, gave his life for us and if you follow Him, you will still fall prey to these six mistakes, but instead, you will be granted the ultimate eraser and redeemer as a constant companion as you encounter them.
Instead, you will have a new life, not one that is necessarily mistake free or mistake proof, but one where you find yourself unmistakably loved and endlessly forgiven.