“All wrong-doing is done in the sincere belief that it is the best thing to do.”

— Arnold Bennett

Mistakes.  We all make them.  Well, most of us make them anyway, present company excluded.  Each day we are faced with the need to make decisions.  Some are small and routine — what should I have for breakfast, or should I drink that second cup of coffee.  Others can change the course of our lives and even have an impact on other people whose lives are touched by our choices.  We put a lot of thought and a lot of energy into decision-making; and we hope that when we make mistakes, others will see our sincerity and be kind enough to forgive us.

I can be pretty hard on myself when I make a bad decision.  It hurts me to see my choices hurt others, and I take it to heart as I promise myself not to make the same mistake again.  It is important for caring people to do our best to act in love and make a sincere effort to decide in ways that lead to the greater good for all who are touched by our actions.  I pay attention to the way I judge my own mistakes, and it causes me to rethink the way I react to the mistakes of other people.

When someone makes a choice that hurts me, should I assume that it was an intentional act, meant to cause me pain?  Should I judge the mistakes of others more harshly than I judge my own, simply because I do not know the rationale they used when making a decision?  It is said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but I don’t think it is our place to decide where another person’s road is leading.  It is our place to greet our fellow travelers with the same compassion and understanding we would like to enjoy when our decisions go bad.  Just for today, let’s try to accept that each person we meet is doing the best that s/he can.  If that falls short in some way that we find hurtful, let’s forgive them just as we would like to be forgiven.  Let’s do our best, learn from our mistakes, and grow in ways that lead us to decide better the next time.  Let us be sincere in all we do and forgive the times when we are sincerely wrong.