I Can’t Believe You Failed Again!

Nyree Squires Feb 2022

I’ve been reflecting on our church’s Sunday’s message ‘It’s okay to fail’. How many times do you think you have failed God and others but not been able to accept it and move on? Well, I’m certainly in that boat. I think as Christians, or even just as those who want to please others, failure is something we don’t want to admit and find hard to recover from. The funny thing is, the Bible is loaded with examples of huge failures from great men and women.  David’s adultery, Elijah’s depression, Solomon’s womanising and Sarah’s unbelief, to name just a few. God didn’t need to include these stories in the Bible, but he did

Sunday’s message gave us the image of God reaching down to us with a strong right hand and pulling us up out of our situation, comforting us in our discouragement, fears and doubts. There are plenty of Bible verses that predict we will fail and that we will need God’s mercy. This is one of my favourites:

‘The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall”

Psalm 37 vs 23 &24

God anticipates lots of stumbles, or shall we say ‘mistakes’ and ‘failures’, but he is ready for them. He gets it, we are human! So, here comes the real challenge for us. Why are we so ready to point out the failures of others when we hate failing and admitting them ourselves? Also, why do we seem to think that the mistakes of others are worse than our own? May I suggest that it’s a lack of understanding of God’s heart.

Take the woman who was caught in adultery in the New Testament of the Bible. This was a culture when such things were given the death sentence. Every person surrounding her felt they had a right to throw a stone until Jesus challenged their own lives.

“Yes, you can throw a stone if you have never done anything wrong yourself!”

The woman was spared her life and Jesus asked her to stop what she was doing. He did not say what she was doing was okay, but he did want others to show her mercy. So, I am not suggesting that because we don’t want to call out the mistakes of others, everyone can go around doing whatever they want to, or that there is no moral compass. The Bible gives us the example of the best way to live through Jesus. But there is a pattern for recovery in this story, like many others in the Bible.  Help, healing, protection, guidance, support and finally turning away from the action (in this case adultery) to change the habit or the lifestyle.

The woman in question wouldn’t have been able to take direction from Jesus whilst people were throwing stones at her and, most notably, He never threw a stone either. As the only perfect human to ever walk this earth, He was the only one who could have. Our responsibility is not to accuse those around us of failure but to reach out, point out a better way and aid their recovery. Perhaps if we are not prepared to do this, then we should step back and, figuratively speaking, put down the stone.

We can look at ourselves and others and know that we are not failures in God’s sight but His precious children, made in His likeness and equipped by His power. When the stones are being hurled at us, our esteem and sense of worth are low, but God’s view of us is so different.

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of the sand! And when I wake up You are still with me!”

Psalm 139: 17-18

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