Failure Is an EventóNot a Person
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."1
Richard Halverson in Pulpit Helps asked the question: "Who hasn't failed? The Apostle Paul failed, Peter failed, every one of the twelve apostles failed. David, Israel's greatest king, 'a man after God's own heart,' failed. Moses, giant among the Israelites, giver of the law, deliverer of his people, failed. Jacob, father of Israel, failed. Isaac, son of promise, failed. Abraham, progenitor of Israel, father of the faithful, prototype of those who are righteous through faith, failed. Even our first parents, in their human perfection, failed. Who hasn't failed?
"It is not failing that is the problem; it is what one does after he has failed. To take failure as final is to be a failure. To see in failure the school of [God's] Spirit is to let failure contribute to one's growth in Christ."
When we fail, the important thing is to get up, confess it to God and, where necessary, to the person whom we have hurt if we have hurt someone, and ask for their forgiveness. Then we need to forgive ourselves as God forgives us, and learn from the experience.
Remember, too, it's not God's goal to make us good but to make us whole, and the more whole and mature we become, the less we will act out in destructive waysóand the less we will fail. The only real failure, after we either fall or get knocked down, is to not get up one more time.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please forgive me for where I have failed (be specific) and help me learn and grow through this experience so I won't make the same mistake again. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name."
1. Psalm 51:1-2 (NIV).