Mistakes: Chastisement, Understanding, and Forgiveness
By Mark Borders
Southern Baptist Nobody
Over the last 18 days, while in the midst of this very important battle, it has occurred to me just how unfair life can be sometimes. We all start out life fresh, innocent, and untarnished. As babies, then as children, we usually feel safe and protected under the loving guidance of our parents. They do their very best for us as we grow up, giving encouragement, life advice, kind loving acceptance, and usually a love that no matter the circumstance, no matter what the child does, or does not do, they are committed to stand by that child no matter what. That thankfully describes my dear parents perfectly. I was a wild child, a risk-taker, and daredevil, the episodes I put my parents through looking back are embarrassing to me, to this very day. Oh Mom and Dad, if you were only here right now to allow me to offer my humble apologies.
While perhaps one of the lucky ones in this life, this is the family that I grew up in. Of course, there were problems, struggles, and discouragements along the way, but overall my life was good, while sometimes; I was not. As we live our daily lives, many times we are faced with impossible choices, choices that eat at us, and tear away at those values and principals we were taught as a child. We face temptations that overpower our ability to reason and make good wise choices. This struggle, called life, can be so painful sometimes, so disheartening, we as decent people always try to do our best, make the right decisions, avoid making the big mistakes, but along the way we many times fail.
Failure is a teaching tool; in school if you look at a test with the understanding that it is simply a tool to achieve a goal, a better education, and a better life for yourself, then tests are not as frightening, and chances are you will make a better grade. Same with “Homework”, which is a valuable teaching tool that teachers offer, teaching much more than the lessons you work on, but also teaching good moral values; Time Management, Self-Control, Self-Awareness, and Discipline.
Mistakes are tools as well, mistakes sometime put us in dire situations that test our very core, our fortitude, our commitment, our resolve, and our willingness to accept responsibility for our actions, to take that mistake and the consequences, and use them to make a drastic change for the better in our lives. How we handle failure and mistakes is a measure of how we were raised as a child, how strongly our core values were established when we were young, how strongly we were taught to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and do the best you can to redeem yourself. Oh if only our friends, family, and others would learn to hate the act, but love and forgive the actor. If only chastisement was always followed with understanding and forgiveness this world might be a better place, more developed, more able to use the life experiences of everyone to build a stronger more secure world.
The mistakes and challenges in my life, as well as the education and my life experiences, prepared me for the fight I, and more importantly, this country; the Philippines and her people are facing right now. My own personal values tell me that in all situations where someone has made a mistake, there are three important steps to take; Chastisement, Understanding, and Forgiveness.
Chastisement at the proper level, and immediate, parents when punishing a child should never say to a child; “Wait till your daddy gets home” or “wait till your mommy hears about this”. That tells the child; you are powerless, and you don’t care anything about them. There are two stages of Chastisement; first the explanation phase; where you explain what the child has done wrong, or reiterate a previous explanation. In this phase it’s a good time to show where you get your instructions, get out the Bible and read, if you don’t have one, get one, and read. The second phase is appropriate punishment; as a good parent this is the hardest part, when punishing my child I usually end up crying during the punishment, it hurts me to punish. Now by punishment, I absolutely do not mean capital punishment of any sort. I do not believe in spanking a child, I do not believe in murdering the guilty, I do not even believe in incarceration except in very serious cases, I do not believe in destroying someone who has wronged me. I mean punishment that teaches, punishment that enhances the life of the child and parent. The parent is just as guilty as the child so the punishment requires that each of them receive it.
Understanding is so vitally important; this is the stage where you offer your teachings. Always after punishment, a period of comforting and wooing should take place. This lets the child know that we all make mistakes, we all fail, but life goes on, and this is the time you offer lessons of reassurance and responsibility. This is again the time to dust off that old family Bible, and read. This is also the longest of the steps; more time should be devoted here than any of the other two steps, because not only is the child to blame, but you as a parent have failed as well. Your prior teaching did not take hold; you failed to instill the proper values in your child. For loving parents this is the time when both you and the child are in great sorrow, which makes the next step such a miracle and relief. Parents should never be afraid of showing tears to their child, it lets the child know how important this is, and how much you love and care for them, and how important they are to you as the parent.
Forgiveness: the ultimate miracle of the human race: A Gift of God. A setting aside of differences, mistakes, and failure, and an acknowledgment that life does go on. Forgiveness is the most important thing we do in life, and it’s a gift directly from God. He showed the example for us to follow, when he gave his only Son up to the world to ultimately be ridiculed, tortured, and crucified. Could any of us parents be so forgiving? God forgives us all, and to show it; He gave up a precious Child. Salvation is Jesus Christ; He is the act of Ultimate and Complete Forgiveness that we as humans can only strive for.
So your mentor is God, His teachings, give us a way to succeed in life. His teachings, and those of His Son Jesus Christ are the same, they are lessons to have a good life; free of burdens, free of troubles, and free of difficulties, which we cannot overcome. Of course, in life there will always be burdens, troubles, and difficulties, and more, but God promised he would never test us beyond our abilities, never leave us in our time of troubles, or need. Oh what an incredible “Father”; “Yahweh”, He forgives us more than we could ever forgive others, or ourselves. What an incredible “Father” to look toward, a “Father” we never want to let down. For if we do, we know the steps that must be taken; Chastisement, Understanding, and Forgiveness!
So what are the steps needed right now? Chastisement, everyone reading my humble words right now should be fully aware of the problems this country is facing. You have neglected them for years, what a disgrace. The lessons of Christian Values cannot be overlooked or disregarded. You must never allow this kind of behavior again; you must put controls in place to ensure that never again will an entity, like the Philippine leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, force you away from that which is right and good. You must start at this very minute, and continue for the rest of your lives to uphold these moral principles.
You must right now, on bended knee, ask for your Father to forgive you, admit that you made a mistake, and that you are oh so sorry, and promise him you will never do it again. You must ask him to send the Holy Spirit to live within you; you must promise that His Son, Jesus Christ is your “one and only” personal Savior, and that YOU know that. You must tell him that you know that He gave his only son to the world to be ridiculed, tortured, and murdered in agony, to cleanse you of your sins, and you accept that sacrifice. You must ask him to cleanse your mind and soul, of all the filthy debris in them, and renew them in His image. You must ask Him to send down Angels in your times of distress to comfort you. Then you Thank Him for the forgiveness you feel within you, and Bless Him for His forgiveness, and then end with Amen!
The attacks this author has witnessed in articles and comments are many times misdirected, in our time of Understanding we must realize that the only attacks against the Holy Roman Church, are within its leadership here in the Philippines. While the Mother Church, in Vatican City bears some of the blame for conditions here; that blame does not reach the level that deserves the kind of attacks I’ve seen take place. While not blameless in my eyes, it is this struggle in the Philippines that I believe will bring light to their eyes. Beyond this recent struggle I might have other differences with the Holy Roman Church, but this is not the venue, time or place for that discussion. These differences are between the Holy Roman Church and myself, and are no one else’s concern. The concern of this nation is to correct the mistake, hold those accountable that are deserving of rebuke, and take the necessary steps; Chastisement, Understanding, and Forgiveness, then go on, start making this nation Great.