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Steve Harvey – Poetic Justice: What are the Lessons To Be Learned?

February 19, 2016 by Herbert Daughtry


There are enduring lessons in the conspicuous mistake that Mr. Steve Harvey made in selecting Miss Colombia as Miss Universe when the winner was Miss Philippines. All the participants handled the situation graciously. Everyone seemed to have benefited. Miss Philippines was given her due – she was recognized as Miss Universe.

Miss Colombia has won worldwide sympathy, which will translate into various good things. Mr. Harvey, well, I am told that he has a three-year contract to host the Miss Universe pageant. He also has a contract with T-mobile to do commercials. Who knows what other benefits have and will accrue to him?

What are the lessons? Failures, mistakes, faux pas, etc. are not final unless you view them as such. If they are approached rightly, they can be turned into benefits. Stumbling blocks can be turned into stepping stones. They are like commas and not periods in a long sentence, waiting for what comes next.

The worst defeat, the most embarrassing failure, or the most glaring mistake is not the last word or the final chapter in our life. If we handle them with the proper attitude or mental disposition, if we learn and apply the priceless lessons which only losses, failures, mistakes, and crises can teach us, joyfully, we will rise from the ashes of failure triumphantly. In fact, we will be stronger, wiser, and better than if there had been no mistakes at all.

There are lessons and experiences we can only learn in the humbling classrooms of defeats, failures, and mistakes. There are enduring lessons in the Miss Universe situation. Mistakes are common to the human experience. It is an indisputable fact. All human beings have or will make all kinds of mistakes. Some of us will make more than others. In the words of Scripture, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” “If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you (Psalm 130:3-4).”

Verily, at the heart of Christianity, there is a loving God who sent his Son to seek and save erring humanity. Of course, the Scripture makes reference to the mistakes of a more serious nature than picking the wrong Miss Universe. It is all the more reason that our mistakes can be the stepping stones to greater achievements.

There is an impressive list of achievers who made colossal mistakes -or, a number of mistakes, or who experienced multiple losses or failures before they succeeded. Consider Michael Jordan. He is one of the greatest basketball players, but he missed a number basketball shots. Thomas Edison, who has been given credit for the electric light, failed one thousand times. Abraham Lincoln lost a number of elections before he became President. The Apostle Paul, one of the greatest and most productive servants of the Most High, said he was a “chief of sinners.” On and on, we can go. Time will fail me to mention King David in the Scriptures, all of the disciples of Jesus, and President Barack Obama.

It was said that during World War I, a young lieutenant was promoted to Captain by the General. When others raised questions regarding his promotion and pointing to his mistakes, the General responded, “Yes, he has made mistakes, but he makes them so quickly.” What the General meant was that this young lieutenant didn’t allow mistakes to keep him from making decisions or acting.

Oftentimes, we’re immobilized by mistakes. In the sports word, a quarterback is considered to have one of the most important positions. One of the ways of evaluating a quarterback is to see what he does after he throws an interception? Can he continue to pass the ball with accuracy, or does he allow the interception to paralyze him, and thus make him ineffective? In basketball, they call it a shooter’s mentality, meaning that no matter how many times a shooter misses the basket, it does not stop him from shooting the ball, or does not interfere with his accuracy.

There is a lesson: “We must not allow mistakes to paralyze e us or keep us from acting or making decisions.” All too often because of the fear of making a mistake, we refuse to make a decision or to act. Or, because we were defeated once, we will not try again.

Those who succeed in life, and those who achieve their objective, rest assured, have failed many times. They have known defeat, but they possess the quality, or another way of saying it, they tap into that something in them that allows them to keep trying. All of us have that quality within us. Indeed, a loving God has put within all of us this capacity to be victorious over every failure, shortcoming, situation, mistake, etc.

I’ve written two books entitled,” Made to Master: Tapping the Power Within To Live A Victorious Life,” and ” Made to Master: Weekly Practices for the Mastery of Life.” One of the continuing themes of my books has been: “One can overcome failures, shortcomings, and defeat.” Jesus being crucified on the cross is the ultimate example of victory over defeat. Those who crucified Jesus (keep in mind it was one of the most disgraceful and excruciating ways to execute a person), those who engaged in this horrendous act thought they had put an end to Jesus and His message of the Good News. Perhaps, at the time, only Jesus knew that His life and His message would be lasting and the Good News.

Whoever you are, if you have failed or have been defeated, you can still overcome, and make your life and the world better. Another benefit that comes to us by overcoming mistakes is that we garner respect. We love people who overcome their mistakes. Perhaps, it’s at least one of the reasons they give us hope. Essential to handling mistakes properly is the humble, timely, and sincere acknowledgment of the mistake, and to make the matter complete, the gracious acceptance of the mistake by the offended party. That is precisely what the players in the Miss Universe episode did. The final lesson: while mistakes demand that we study them in order to learn from them, but we must not become obsessed with mistakes. We become like what we fix our minds upon. Focus on where you want to go and what you want to accomplish, and keep it moving.