Learning from our mistakes

Uzzah“And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled.  And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God.” 2 Sam. 6:6,7. (ESV)

Chapter         (ESV)

Audio              (3:43)

The responsibility for the death of Uzzah rested ultimately with David because he had formulated the plan to take the ark to Jerusalem. The method of transport David chose was not what God had previously commanded regarding the ark, so when Uzzah sought to protect the ark, he lost his life. Initially, David responded with anger and fear and left the ark in the home of Obed-edom the Gittite for 3 months. After seeing how the ark blessed the house of Obed-edom, David decided to resume his efforts to bring the ark to Jerusalem. However this time, David wisely sought out the proper method for transporting the ark of God. David learned from his mistake and made the necessary corrections to allow the ark to be safely transported the remainder of the journey to Jerusalem.

Given enough time, all of us will make mistakes as physicians. For those working within a surgical field as I did, those mistakes can be open and evident to many, potentially resulting in personal embarrassment.

First of all, it is important to accept the fact that because we are imperfect human beings, we will all make mistakes. The issue is not whether we will make a mistake; the issue is how we will handle that mistake.

One response is blame shifting. When we shift the blame off of ourselves onto someone or something else, we usually fail to see our part in the mistake. If we don’t see our contribution to the mistake, we lose the ability to learn from our mistakes.

When we have the courage to authentically look at our mistakes, we gain the opportunity to learn and avoid making the same mistake a second time.

Mistakes are never fun and sometimes will cost someone their lives just as it did with David. But they can become one of the most educational experiences of our lives.

Prayer: Lord, help me face my mistakes honestly and through them teach me what You want me to learn.

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