Wisdom from a misread church sign

September 30, 2009 | 15 comments

The other day I was driving around and saw a church sign that said:


I thought it was a powerful message, one that could have saved me a fair amount of time in my conversion if I’d heard it early on. When I was first open to the possibility that God might exist, it was tempting to use my own life choices and beliefs (some of which were bound to be mistakes) as the golden standard, to find a belief system that told me that God thinks that I’m fine, everything I’ve ever done is fine, and everything I’m planning to do is fine. But as I quickly found out, you can’t find God until you’re willing to be vulnerable — vulnerable to the scary prospect of following the truth even if it leads you to a God who is much different than you might have imagined, and vulnerable to the possibility that some of the biggest choices in your life just might have been mistakes.

All those thoughts flashed through my mind as I drove closer to the sign, and just before I passed it I noticed that I’d read it wrong. It actually said:


I liked this advice as well, and thought it made a nice follow-up to the misread message I’d just been thinking about. After you acknowledge your mistakes (i.e. sins) that have separated you from God, it’s tempting to believe that God couldn’t possibly love you as much as he loves people who haven’t screwed up as much as you have. It’s so important, as the sign actually said, to know that your mistakes are not your value.

As I drove off I chucked that the two pieces of advice make a great little two-part guide to conversion: Don’t make your mistakes your values, and don’t make your mistakes your value.

Picture by Church Sign Maker


  1. Christian Soldier

    Great word play going on there huh? Because it can definitely be good to value your mistakes! If you use them as a learning tool. Thanks for posting. Good stuff to think about!

  2. Rachel Gray

    That's good, especially the first one. It reminds me of a quote… can't remember who said it…

    "Be sure to live as you believe, or you will come to believe as you have lived."

  3. Christian H

    Sometimes the misread is the best read.

  4. Anonymous

    Sorry for being off topic. Anyone else notice that the woman in the Save the Children ad looks just like you?


  5. Roxane B. Salonen

    Another one I love, and reflect on often: "Live simply so others may simply live." I love how you think so deeply about such things, and how it bears fruit here. 🙂

  6. Elizabeth Mahlou

    Certainly, from everything He tells and shows us God does not make our mistakes our value. Rather, He places a very high value on us. More than we could ever deserve — and He does not require us to deserve His love of us or how He values us. Pretty overwhelming, isn't it?

  7. Marigold

    The best church sign I ever saw was 'To whoever stole our lawnmower: God will get you'.
    It might have been faked – I saw it in a photo someone emailed – but I laugh every time I think about it.

    x M.

  8. Antique Mommy

    Man is that true. And totally counter to the how Christianity is currently being packaged. The message of the cross is a hard one, so we craft a new and improved one, we emend the scriptures to accomodate our sin.

  9. confused homemaker

    It's very true & great that God speaks to us in all these different ways. Who would think that misreading a sign could have such benefit to the soul? He knows what we need to hear (err, see or read–you know what I mean:D).

  10. Dean

    This message came just as I was feeling down on myself for a stupid mistake I made this morning. I really felt empty of any value and wondered how God could ever work with someone like me who keeps making careless mistakes etc. Then I read your blog and am rethinking things.
    Dean in Wisconsin

  11. a Proverbs wife

    i second Christian H…sometimes the misread is the best read!

    God has the most amazing ways to get through to us. it never ceases to amaze me the way He is.

    what (a) great lesson(s).

  12. Linda

    I'm sure I needed to hear this. (In fact, I might blog about it now…..) I often make my mistakes my value, finding it difficult to find value in myself at all.
    Thanks for the post.
    BTW, I'm new here, and I am enjoying your blog.

  13. monica_divineoffice.org

    I love both messages, powerful and inspiring!

    Liturgy of the Hours

  14. ティファニー 指輪

    Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will be
    waiting for your further post thanks once again.

  15. http://www.tiffanyje.com/

    I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this weblog on regular basis to take updated from most recent news update.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- Subscribe on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates