“A wise man learns quickly from his errors and adjusts his path to get back on track. He tries to fail forward, becoming wiser after each mistake and taking intentional steps to avoid stumbling into the same ditch twice. A foolish man, however, fails backward, refusing to learn, continually wasting his experiences. He follows his own footprints into yesterday’s traps and gets entangled in them all over again” (taken from The Resolution for Men, p. 183-184).

I read this book in recent weeks, and it caused me to think about the need to learn from our own mistakes.

We are not perfect. In fact, we are far from it. We make mistakes regularly. You will not stop messing up until you reach heaven. So in the meantime, are you failing forward or failing backward? Are you learning from your mistakes?

Proverbs 26:11 has a very descriptive way to think about someone who can’t learn from his mistakes.  Here’s the verse:

Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly.

If you have a dog, you might have seen this disgusting event. Occasionally, when a dog vomits, he will look and sniff at the fresh specimen on the ground and give it another chance. The very thought of swallowing what you just vomited should be revolting.

The act of repeating a mistake already made should be just as revolting to you. Whether your sin was of the mind, mouth, hand, or heart, the sin should break your heart. Your love for Christ and His Word should be so intense that the very thought of that sin should turn your stomach. And yet, if we repeat the sin, it shows that we never thought it that vile in the first place.

Are you repeating the same mistakes? Are you getting caught in a cycle of sin? Today, ask God to make you disgusted with the things that make Him disgusted and stop doing them.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.