We can let failure stop us or we can let failure teach us a better way.
“How much should I forgive my brother?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.” (Matt 18:21-22)
I sometimes get so frustrated with myself. I do the same wrong things time after time, even though I don’t want to.
My patience wears thin when I’m tired or stressed and I don’t want it to.
I start speaking harshly especially to my husband when I feel not cared for or left out. I want to have a sweet spirit and soft words so he can hear and understand when I share with him. Not get his back up straight away.
My harshness reaps harshness and I don’t want to go there, but I do.
What’s wrong with me? Can’t I just stick to my decisions, my best of intentions?
Reading Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans I have some great company in this. “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19)
Was Paul judging people, being angry and showing a lack of compassion? We don’t know, but we do know that it frustrated him. He even asked God to take it away. He realised his sinful nature and in verse 25 said, “thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
We need to recognize our sinful nature, but like Paul, realize it is Jesus Christ who has saved us, redeemed us. We need to also forgive ourselves (not just our neighbour) seventy times seven – lots of times, actually every time, for that is what Christ does.
If we are not careful, we give up being good, trying to be considerate, kind, generous, loving, forgiving, etc. because it is too hard.
We have failed so many times. We seem to fall back into our old ways. We don’t do things well or not at all. Our selfishness creeps in. We think our opinion is so important and people are so annoying at times.
We can allow the negative voices to be stronger than the positive voices. We don’t listen to our conscience anymore all because failure hurts.
Failure can make us feel second rate, but Jesus does not think of us like that. He tells us to forgive and start again. Afresh. Anew. For in Him, that is the next step after a mistake, an error or a sin.
Repent, turn towards change and move forward for in Him we are a new creation. And if we have to do that 70×7 times then so be it. He is always there beside us, loving us, calling us back to Him.
My Dad used to say some of the best lessons of life are learnt through the eyes of failure. So, when I read these sayings, it reminded me of his wise words.
Joe Torre said, “You can’t appreciate the good times unless you have bad times.”
Good times become good memories, while bad times become good lessons. (Anon)
Arianna Huffington said, ‘Failure is not the opposite of success but part of success.’
These human words encourage us, but the word of God from the bible are not only encouraging but full of Holy Spirit power and guides us towards solutions. The words are active like a two-edged sword that cuts between sinew and bone and speaks of truth.
God does not just talk about problems and failure but shows us the right way to succeed. We are called to trust in Him for He is God and wants to be involved in everything in our lives. He offers a true love relationship.
Jeremiah 8:4 says, “You shall say to them, thus says the Lord, do men fall and not rise up again? Does one turn away (from God) and not repent and return (to Him)” AMP
Proverbs 24:16 says, “The righteous man falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse.” AMP
Psalm 34:10b says, “They who seek the Lord will not lack any good thing.” AMP
Sometimes our ‘failures’ are good for us. Then we don’t become too proud, too self-centred, too much like Adam and Eve who ‘knew better than God.’
But if we are seeking after God as Romans 8:28 says, “All things work for good to those who love God and are called according to his plan.”
Psalm 23:4 says, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.” NLT
Even when it appears very glum and nothing is working and I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel of mistakes, failures and disappointments;
You O God walk with me.
You O God are my Light!
So, with my God, nothing is impossible, and my failures can be turned for good for me and my future. Thank you, God, that this is true!