An old year is fading and a new year is upon us again. Each year I go kicking and screaming into the new year, and not because I am against change. My pants pocket is full of change.

I simply cannot remember to change the year on the checks I write until May. By the time, I remember the correct year I have forgotten to make deposits into my checking account. I need a reality check, which with any luck will not bounce as high as my checkbook.

That is not the only reason I hesitate going into a new year. The biggest reason has to do with the mistakes I made during the old year.

Looking back over the old year, I worry that my blunders were not as bad as they could have been. Did I make all the gaffes I possibly could? Did I fill my quota? What is my quota, anyway?

For many people, the new year offers the opportunity to start over again. Actually, what happens is people simply make new mistakes curiously similar to the mistakes made during the old year.

If I have any resolution for the new year it would be to perfect the mistakes I have already made. I do not see any sense in making new bloopers when I can easily requisition the old ones for duty during the new year.

And what is wrong with my old mistakes? The only thing I can think of is that I did not work hard enough to make the most of them. It is one thing to make a mistake, but it is quite another thing to perfect the art of making a mistake so that you do not have to repeat it ever again. Too many amateurs have given mistake-making a bad name.

Most of my mistakes have been so poorly discharged that in the coming year I will have to re-do many of them. And, frankly, I am tired of it all. I am anxious to move on to new areas of mistake making.

I am convinced there are faux pas to make that I have not dreamed of at this point in my life. Believe me, I have been dreaming. Actually, the gracious mistress of the parsonage thinks they are all nightmares. However, my horsing around is not limited to the nighttime.

With that in mind, my resolution for the new year is to make sure all mistakes I make (and there will be plenty, I assure you) will be as thorough as possible. I refuse to execute any mistake before its time.

Some mistakes take lots of time to fully mature, but when its time comes, I want to make sure it is implemented as smoothly and as perfectly as possible.

If I am any judge of character, the majority of people will not make any new mistakes this coming year. Oh, they think they are making new mistakes, but in reality they are dusting off old ones and re-dating them for the current year. What a waste of time, in my opinion.

For those who take mistake-making seriously, allow me to offer some help to guide this pursuit in the coming year. 

Look back over the old year and make a list of all of the mistakes you have made. If you are a husband, solicit help from your wife, who will be able to remember all of those mistakes you have forgotten. (Not to mention one or two you did not make.)

Go over each mistake on your list and determine if it needs repeating. It does not make sense doing new mistakes if you are not finished with the old ones. Nothing is more disheartening than a half-baked mistake.

For every mistake from the previous year not needing to be repeated, place a nice red star in front of it. That mistake can now go into your Hall of Blame, which you will never have to repeat again.

Of course, you will have some mistakes, even though they have been perfectly executed, that are well worth repeating. You know which ones they are. Don’t you?

Now look at all of those mistakes listed for repeating during 2012. Prioritize them so you can begin the new year with a good plan.

As you prioritize this list, think of ways in which you can improve on your mistakes over the past year. No satisfaction compares with doing something as good as you can. One man’s blunder is another man’s gaffe.

Everyone generates mistakes, which is healthy. What is unhealthy is thinking you have not made any mistakes, which is a mistake. Some people have the strange idea that they live a completely mistake-free life.

A mistake well executed is a mistake never needing repeating. During the new year, execute as many mistakes as your conscience will allow. 

The Bible, an authority on mistakes, says this:

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 KJV.)

The great hope we have is that there is no mistake bigger than God’s ability to forgive.

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Fla. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at (352) 687-4240 or e-mail The church website is

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