A mistake is to take wrong; to conceive or understand erroneously; to misunderstand or misapprehend. To take one thing or person for another. We mistake the eloquence of self-apology for the animation of conscious integrity. A man may mistake the love of virtue for the practice of it. To mistake is to err in opinion or judgment." As a noun, mistake is "an error in opinion or judgment; misconception; a slip; a fault; an error.Webster’s American Dictionary

A mistake is a misconception or misapprehension of the meaning of something, hence, an error or fault in thought or action; an act or judgement that is misguided or wrong; to be wrong about.Oxford English Dictionary

“Cherish your mistakes as gifts to yourself.”—Edna Lister

Mistakes are initiations into learning how not to do it. A mistake is only a slight retrogression caused by having already descended from the Light. Cherish your mistakes, for they are your learning opportunities in life. You learn very little that is new when you do it right.

Edna Lister on Mistakes

Making mistakes is good. It’s how you learn. Instead of condemning yourself for past mistakes, move with the love of God.—Edna Lister, Power, December 26, 1934.

Under good self-discipline, mistakes can often be made right, good comes from evil, disappointments and disasters are often blessings in disguise.—Edna Lister, February 1, 1937.

Make haste slowly.—Edna Lister, December 10, 1938.

Offer all your "little self" to the Father in exchange for love. Give full measure of sacrifice of petty thoughts, petty self and petty speech, which mean nothing at the close of day, except that you must make more sacrifice for error, time which you might better use in new prayers of praise and joy.—Edna Lister, November 24, 1939.

If you live among others, you are bound to blunder occasionally. The better you are, the more a tiny mistake stands out, the more folks see it, the more wrath it calls upon you. Another, who is not so good, may make many mistakes and never gets blamed, which can be annoying. Being caught on one mistake is better than having a dozen overlooked.

No one expects much from the lame ducks, but if you are good, everyone not only expects but demands more from you. Regard the reprimands as spurs to greater effort, for no one can afford to become satisfied with their performance, or they lose their reputation. If you’ve been a bumbling blunderer, keep an account of every future bumble and study "how not-to-do-it" until you remember your common mistakes. You’ll learn all the right ways and methods by the process of elimination.

Never join those who are afraid to act. If you aren’t sure, do it anyhow, and do your very best. Remain cheerful, and leave behind self-disgust and self-blame. Pay any price necessary to become letter-perfect in your relationships. With eyes facing front, reach out to new ways to live, and practice self-discipline. You’ll win!—Edna Lister, "Just DO It!," Life in a Nutshell, 1942.

Sometimes "interference" saves you from a mistake, though you do not like it.—Edna Lister, March 3, 1943.

"I did not think. I did not understand. I thought I was right" are statements of self wearing blinders that cause blunders.—Edna Lister, November 13, 1944.

An automatic "I’m sorry" means nothing. Say, "Please excuse me," or "Pardon me," to set the lesson.—Edna Lister, July 16, 1945.

You must have a single eye. You can’t focus on the worldly problem and on God. Focus on God, then your body is full of Light.—Edna Lister, July 31, 1945.

To pay for a mistake or misdemeanor, arise and go to your Father’s House. Ascend into the Light, breathe deeply, look up, call on the Light and do your next duty.—Edna Lister, August 6, 1945.

The law is, let he who is blameless cast the first stone. When you cannot take reprimands but cover your mistakes, you blame and criticize.—Edna Lister, August 11, 1945.

Foolish mistakes and blunders may come. Repent, but never lose your high point of consciousness.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

When you make a mistake or blunder, take instant stock, but do not dwell on self or what is happening. Stay up. Face your accuser and take the blame if you must, but with no self-pity.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

You must observe to avoid blunders.—Edna Lister, July 3, 1947.

Suspicion will always find what it suspects. It compels the one against whom it is directed to fulfill itself.—Edna Lister, August 24, 1947.

You can be God-conscious every moment. The moment you sink under your hair roots, things begin to blow apart.—Edna Lister, December 9, 1947.

You don’t see yourself as not making mistakes today, but think about God.—Edna Lister, December 13, 1947.

At the time of a mistake or blunder, take instant stock, but do not dwell on self, which is self-pity, or what is happening, stay up in consciousness.—Edna Lister, January 8, 1948.

You have no past when Light wipes it out.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1948.

You have been sliding over your mistakes, but the teacher here is God.—Edna Lister, August 1950.

No one pays you to be a doormat. You can go just so far, then lovingly announce that you won’t further belittle your soul.—Edna Lister, June 14, 1951.

The creator, who is becoming law under the final three degrees, knows that the first misstep softens morale and the moral stance, making the second mistake easier. Weakened moral fiber inevitably leads to the point where only selfish desires remain, until you can’t say yes or no.—Edna Lister, The First Days, June 17, 1951.

You have enemies only when you believe you do. Believing you do have enemies is a mistake. Then, when you make a mistake, your enemies can attack.—Edna Lister, The Mantle of Messiahship, October 12, 1952.

You are in danger of an overly earthy love life when you do not give your devotion and faith to God first; this creates imbalance. A balanced faith and love of God bestows the gift of balanced love on earth and in heaven. You recognize the relative good of all things, and cease making mistakes about people and situations.—Edna Lister, The Mantle of Messiahship, October 12, 1952.

You wrap a millstone around your neck when you take vows and then make mistakes.—Edna Lister, Forgiveness, the Path of Glory, October 21, 1951.

People live in one of several ways. Some unconsciously use grandma’s pattern, some old world pattern or a modern hedonistic pattern. Many people live by mistaken ideas, without God or consideration for others. Others float indifferently as the playthings of the four worldly winds of criticism, condemnation, opinions and prejudices. Some people live consciously, directing and controlling their lives.—Edna Lister, A Design for Living, November 2, 1952.

Mistakes are impossible when you live in the Light, facing the Light, letting Light use you, withstanding all things in joy, agreeing with all adversaries, singing songs of joy, though persecuted, enduring all things in joy and never giving a thought to the self, praising God, thanking and loving the Father better than anything earth can fashion.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1953.

Any mistake that credits the self challenges the Light to set it afire so the world can see it.—Edna Lister, December 14, 1953.

Self-justifying judgment, construed as grief, creates a double debt when you cry about your mistakes.—Edna Lister, July 19, 1954.

Ascend on a mistake and declare that it is in the Light. You cannot waste time in self-recrimination.—Edna Lister, December 16, 1954.

Old patterns, mistakes and misunderstandings keep you in a state of bondage, inner confusion and conflict.—Edna Lister, Eternal Youth, 1956, 1976.

You cannot hide anything.—Edna Lister, March 7, 1957.

Weeping about the mistakes that you’ve made eventually turns into self-pity.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

The Source must become the highest point of your weakest link.—Edna Lister, October 3, 1957.

If you make a mistake or wrong decision, take time to call it good first. Accept the penalty for being wrong, then do the thing right.—Edna Lister, Conquering Time, October 22, 1957.

Lights are on you to search for dry rot and moth holes from the past.—Edna Lister, November 21, 1957.

To be chastened is like turning your face to the sun, lovingly facing the Light. God does not reprimand you, but just turns you to face the Light again.—Edna Lister, November 21, 1957.

All bumbling is evidence of cross-vibration.—Edna Lister, January 2, 1958.

Every time you make a mistake or blunder, you hold back the release of God’s Power. God does not chasten you if you reprimand yourself.—Edna Lister, January 9, 1958.

You cannot crawl back into a cracked, broken shell. The world outside the old shell is always too big, unless you awaken more brain cells, study and seek without ceasing.—Edna Lister, January 13, 1958.

You may make mistakes as you climb, you blunder, you fall back. Still, you climb and hold fast to the Power line attaching you to the Source, as you hold your lines of Light and responsibility to the world.—Edna Lister, March 7, 1958.

If you try to delve into tomorrow, you use nervous and creative energy.—Edna Lister, November 10, 1958.

Live high enough to be up in consciousness when doing anything anywhere. A mistake is only a slight retrogression caused by having already descended from the Light. Once a mistake is made public, and others become consciously aware and involved, it cannot be covered.—Edna Lister, February 16, 1959.

Use every mistake as experience. Never say you have wasted your past. Whatever happens, increase your ability to expand into new vision. Lift mistakes and imperfections and draw on God’s substance to fill your great vision.—Edna Lister, Your Philosophy of Freedom, June 28, 1959.

Everyone is bound to blunder, and you learn by blundering.—Edna Lister, May 8, 1960.

Don’t worry about your mistakes along the way. God loves a joyous sinner. Joy enfolds the sin.—Edna Lister, Consider the Lilies, May 29, 1960.

You must mold your character in the image and likeness of God by lifting and sublimating impulses, emotions and mental processes. You make mistakes until you direct and control subconscious impulses. For example, people can shoot hate from their eyes, or offend another with a shrug of their shoulders. Lift these unconscious impulses.—Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself? June 14, 1960.

Any over-commitment that causes a mental muddle is a bid for praise, due to the self’s desire to be considered great for doing so much.—Edna Lister, June 15, 1960.

As you walk in the Light that shines before you, your past casts a shadow for you to lift. If you are not in the Light, the present darkness adds itself to the shadow until you can become enveloped in a heavy cloud of darkness. You wonder where God is. Climb higher, beyond the shadow. Even if you don’t see the cause of the episode, put it on the altar to be lifted as incense.—Edna Lister, July 24, 1961.

Unless you declare it good, you are anchored and cannot move onward.—Edna Lister, July 24, 1961.

How do you treat for any personal mistakes? Stand in the Light. Let the Light be so bright that any shadows of the past will appear as blots on the light to be lifted. If not in the Light, past shadows add to the darkness of today’s clouds. Review all laws to check for flaws in your present formulas for living. Check and recheck yourself for taints by standing in the Light, and loving more. Allow the taints to show themselves. Then lift them and praise that Light is erasing them.—Edna Lister, August 10, 1961.

Examine your own life before you dare to tell someone off. Just lift the situation when you see mistakes and darkness; don’t voice it or give it form. Bite your tongue. Power can move through only when you are dedicated to God. If God needs you to speak the Word, you will not speak it as yourself, but as His instrument.—Edna Lister, Your Sacred Light, October 10, 1963.

Do not invest your life sparks in anyone or anything.—Edna Lister, November 14, 1963.

You learn supreme lessons to be irreproachable only by blundering, what we call "the hard way" upon earth. The climb must be steep, slippery and filled with obstacles.—Edna Lister, June 10, 1965.

Give nothing and no one power by letting in even a bit of negativity or darkness.—Edna Lister, August 2, 1965.

To talk about someone’s mistakes means "I’m holier than thou."—Edna Lister, January 24, 1966.

Don’t use yesterday’s mistakes as measuring rods for tomorrow’s performance. What happened at age twenty is not an example of today’s limits. Hauling around your youthful mistakes makes just as much sense as a cowboy dragging a dead steer all over town.—Edna Lister, Your Measuring Rod, November 20, 1966.

The worst inferiority complex simply covers a superiority complex.—Edna Lister, May 8, 1967.

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin."—John 15:22. If someone did not tell you of your mistake, you wouldn’t know you had made one. Once the cloak is ripped away, your alibis no longer work; you can lift it into Light.—Edna Lister, Why Was a Messiah Needed? December 10, 1967.

When something interferes with your plan, God has a better plan for you, to keep you from making a mistake. Don’t blame God.—Edna Lister, The Fiery Furnace, November 7, 1969.

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Treatments for Mistakes

Say, "I’ll make adequate sacrifice" when you blunder, but hold the lines of Light to release Power.—Edna Lister, June 3, 1947.

To treat for any personal mistakes, stand in the Light. Let the Light be so bright that any shadows of the past will be blots on the Light to be lifted. If not in the Light, past shadows but add to the darkness of today’s clouds. Go over all laws for flaws in your present formula for living. Check and recheck the self for flaws and taints without wasting time, by standing in the Light, loving more, allowing the taints to show themselves, then lifting them and praising that they are erased.—Edna Lister, August 10, 1961.

If you make mistake, lift it immediately, saying, "This is good. Let there be Light."—Edna Lister, From Surrender of Self to Soul Ascension, May 16, 1971.

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New Testament on Mistakes

He that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself ... when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended.—Matthew 13:20‑21.

If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.—Matthew 15:14.

Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.—Mark 9:42.

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: he is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.—Luke 6:47‑49.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.—1 John 4:6.

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.—1 Corinthians 9:12.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.—James 1:2‑3.

Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.—James 2:10.

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.—James 4:3.

Above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.—James 5:12.

He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.—James 5:20.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of mistake: "to commit an offense;" late 14c., "to misunderstand, misinterpret, take in a wrong sense," from mis- (1) "badly, wrongly" + take (v.) or from a cognate Scandinavian source such as Old Norse mistaka "take in error, miscarry."

Mistakes are initiations.


Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.