The Diary of a Seventeen-year-old Christian: How to Face Our Own Mistakes Bravely

By Owen, United States

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018, Sunny

I am very happy today. A sister came looking for me in the morning and asked me, “Are you willing to fulfill the duty of translating articles?” Hearing her words, I was very happy and thought: “It’s only a few months since I believed in God, but I have the opportunity to perform my duty in the church. It’s my great honor! Moreover, I received English education from childhood, so it won’t be very difficult for me to perform this duty and I can certainly do it well.” Then, I readily accepted. In a short while, the sister sent an article to me. After reading it, I found the content of the article was very simple and that there were no long difficult words. In less than several hours, I completed the translation, and I thought: “I’ve finished it so soon; it’s really very easy for me to perform this duty. The sister will be quite content with my translation.”

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018, Light Rain

Today, I feel a bit uncomfortable. The sister sent me a message in the morning and said she wanted to discuss my translation with me later. When seeing the message, I felt very excited and thought: “The sister will certainly praise me for translating well.” I expectantly waited for that moment, but what happened next was quite contrary to my expectation. The sister sent the translation to me and said: “Brother, please read the revised translation and check whether there are any mistakes in it.” Then I confidently opened it. Unexpectedly, lots of red lines were drawn on the words (This means the words are modified). I felt rather surprised and thought: “I’ve studied English for so many years, how could there be so many mistakes?” Without even waiting for my response, the sister asked me whether there were any mistakes in the translation. I asked immediately: “Why are there so many mistakes in my translation?” After hearing this, the sister explained the reason why she modified the translation to me in great detail. I acknowledged with my mouth what the sister had said made sense, but in my heart I couldn’t accept it. I thought: I’ve used these words this way from childhood and I’ve learned English for so many years; how could it be that I didn’t know they were mistakes! Isn’t it so shameful? But for the sake of saving face, I didn’t argue with her but accepted reluctantly.

Friday, May 4th, 2018, Cloudy

Today the sister sent me another article. Though it wasn’t too difficult, I couldn’t help but feel a mite nervous and thought: “Last time there were so many mistakes in my translation; if mistakes occur again this time, how will the sister see me? This time I must translate the article carefully so that she will not discover any mistakes!” In less than one hour, I finished translating, which gave me some confidence. I thought: “Sure enough, it’s really easy for me to translate articles. I took more care over my translation than last time, so there should be no mistakes when the sister checks.” Later, I carefully checked it again and didn’t discover any mistakes, so I sent it to the sister with the confidence. The next thing is waiting for her reply.

Saturday, May 5th, 2018, Overcast

My emotions were very heavy in the morning, for I received my translation the sister had revised and there were many mistakes in it like last time. Seeing the red lines on the translation, I felt my face burning, as if someone had slapped me. I thought: “I’d already checked it carefully, why are there still so many mistakes? The brothers and sisters thought that my English was good and then arranged for me to perform this duty. Now, seeing there’re so many mistakes in my translation, will the sister feel disappointed and look down upon me?” Thinking of this, I felt depressed and weak. I’m afraid that the sister will discuss the problems in the translation with me later and I don’t want to face it.

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018, Overcast to Sunny

Today, when the sister discussed the problems in the translation with me, I said almost nothing all the time. Even though I said something, I said it feebly. The sister became aware that my situation was not good and asked how my state was these days. Then, I told my situation to her and she communicated with me: “We’re all created beings, so it’s difficult to avoid making some mistakes. Even if we make mistakes, we can’t take a negative attitude. We should face up to them, learn a lesson from them and try to not make the same mistakes next time.” Her words suddenly woke me up and I thought: “Yes, we’re all created humans and we all make mistakes. Why am I negative for making a few mistakes? Later, I saw a passage of God’s word: “People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection? Can they achieve flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot, right? However, within humans, there is a weakness. As soon as they learn a skill or profession, people feel that they are capable: “I’m someone with status, a person of worth; a professional.” No matter how capable or incapable they might be, before this even comes to light, they want to package themselves up and disguise themselves as important figures, and become perfect and flawless, without any defects. They just want to arm themselves so that in the eyes of others they will become great, powerful, fully capable, and without anything they cannot do; they wish to appear incapable of nothing. If they needed to seek help from others, they believe they would appear incapable and weak, inferior to others, and be looked down upon; as such, they keep wanting to pretend. … What sort of disposition is this? Arrogance to the extreme, right? … You must learn how to walk, and how to walk steadily, one step at a time. If you can walk, then walk; do not try to learn how to run. If you can walk one step at a time, then do not try to take two steps at a time. You must be a person with your feet firmly on the ground. Do not try to be superhuman, great, or lofty.

I came to understand the source of my suffering from God’s word: Because I have arrogant disposition, always sought perfection, wanted to let others look up to me and didn’t want to expose my shortcomings in front of others, I couldn’t correctly deal with the mistakes in my translation and lived in negativity. In retrospect, when I first did the duty of translating articles, I thought of my receiving English education from childhood as a capital and believed I could perform my duty properly and win the praises of brothers and sisters. Therefore, when there were mistakes in my translation, I was unwilling to face my shortcomings. I always wanted to translate the articles well to prove my competence in English and redeem the image the brothers and sisters had of me. However, I always made mistakes in my translation; for this reason, I couldn’t gain their respect and then I became negative. In fact, God asks me not to seek to be the outstanding or great man and not to disguise myself, but to be a person keeping his feet on the ground. So I should face up to my own mistakes, correcting them and asking what I didn’t understand. Wouldn’t I live easily and freely by being such a person?

After understanding God’s will, I felt that everything had suddenly become clear, and the sorrow in my face disappeared, and I also knew how to practice next. I silently told myself: I must humble myself to learn from others; if I make mistakes, I will correct them and try my best not to repeat them next time.

Thursday, May 10th, 2018, Sunny

Today, the sister sent me another article in the morning. After finishing this translation, I sent it to the sister. Before long, the sister gave me feedback on my translation. When receiving it, I was still a bit unsure of myself and afraid that there would be many mistakes. But I thought of God’s word I saw yesterday saying: “People themselves are objects of creation. Can objects of creation achieve omnipotence? Can they achieve perfection? Can they achieve flawlessness? Can they achieve proficiency in everything, come to understand everything, and accomplish everything? They cannot, right? … You must be a person with your feet firmly on the ground. Do not try to be superhuman, great, or lofty.” I thought: Yes, God is the Creator, and only He is holy and perfect. However, I am only a created being and it is normal for me to make mistakes. What’s the key is whether I can be a person who keeps his feet on the ground, put aside my vanity and be humble to accept the sister’s suggestions.” Thinking of these things, I had the courage to face my mistakes. Then, I opened the document and found that the sister still had marked many sentences wrong. Though I felt a bit sad, I didn’t escape anymore and could face up to this thing. Later, I perused those mistakes carefully and compared the revised sentences with my translation. I found that there were really many grammatically incorrect sentences and that I almost hadn’t learned those grammars the sister used. Through her pointing out my mistakes, she just made the lesson up for me and helped me get a good grasp of English grammar.

Before I couldn’t correctly deal with my mistakes, so that my English hasn’t improved. Now I realize that I am really stupid! I thank God for arranging such environments to make up for my shortcomings and improve each aspect of me. At the thought of this, I don’t feel sad anymore and have the confidence to face my mistakes.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018, Sunny

Time passes quickly and here was a week slipping away. In these days, the sister continuously sent articles to me and asked me to translate them. At first, there were still many mistakes in my translation, but I acted according to God’s word—gathering the mistakes in my translation together and buckling down to my studies after the sister pointed them out. Later, when there were sentences which were a bit difficult to translate, I would pray to God, rely on God and look up information. These two days, there were fewer mistakes in my translation. Today, when giving me feedback on my translation, the sister said that I made some progress these days, and encouraged me to do the duty better. Seeing these, I was very happy. Thank God! During this time, through the sister’s suggestions, I discovered my own deficiencies and shortcomings. When I correctly faced my own mistakes, not only did I not lose my face, but my English has improved. I feel so relaxed living like this and my heart is at ease and peaceful. In the future, when things befall me and my own deficiencies and shortcomings are revealed again, I will pray to God and rely on God to experience them, and face up to my own problems instead of escaping; thus I can achieve some progress in everything.

 

You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about Parenting & Education, or in the articles below.

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