My older son is on a high school JV football team. His coach has ‘mistake period’ after each practice for players who were late, absent the day before, spoke inappropriately, acted inappropriately, didn’t follow instructions, and various other infractions. In mistake period, the coach has the players run and do various exercises that are not pleasant to do – and this is done AFTER an already physically demanding practice. No one wants to stay for mistake period! This makes it a very good thing.
By imposing mistake period, the coach is teaching the boys that there are significant consequences for bad choices, wrong-doing, and inappropriate behavior. He’s also giving them the ability to avoid mistake period by following the rules. What a great way to bring about discipline.
I spoke with a player today who had to stay for mistake period when he missed the first part of the practice due to a doctor’s appointment. He’s a good kid and didn’t expect the partial absence for a doctor’s appointment to be cause for mistake period, but it was. I felt sorry for him that he had to suffer such consequences, but admire the coach for what he’s doing. He’s consistently holding his players to the same standards and making examples out of those who mistakes. Consequently, players are very mindful to follow rules, follow instructions, and do whatever it takes to avoid the fate of mistake period.
As I thought about this today, I thought about the ‘mistake periods’ in my life. Many were self-imposed as the result of bad choices. Some mistakes might not have brought about consequences right away, but consequences caught up with me eventually! Thinking further about this, I realized God imposes His mistake periods in much the same way as the coach. He lets us know what is expected of us, warns us that there will be consequences if we fail to obey, and then fairly and consistently imposes mistake periods as needed. The Bible is full of stories and examples of people not following God’s instructions and finding themselves in His mistake periods. Our times today are full of the same.
God put his Play Book out there for us. The rules are clear. His warnings are clear. Still we fail to heed His rules and teachings, and eventually mistake period catches up with us. However, the good news is that God follows up His mistake periods with forgiveness and grace if we seek it. His Play Book tells us He does not keep track of wrong-doings and that His mercies are new every morning!
God erases the stats with our errors, fumbles, and missed attempts when we seek Him with a willingness to go with His grace and make a better play next time. Praise be to God!