"God can't stand anything that's not perfect. Of course, failure is a sin."
I'll never forget the look of scandal on her face as she said those words. It was years ago now. We were having a departmental offsite with my staff and I had just said that God doesn't punish us for our failures, he punishes us for our sins. She was shocked and appalled.
I'll admit, some failures can be sins, and all sins are failures, but many failures are ... just failures and don't have anything to do with sin.
If I fail to stay sober and get rip-roaring drunk on New Year's Eve, that's a sin. If I fail to put sugar in the cinnamon roll recipe, that's just a mistake, not a sin.
Still, failure can be a cause of great concern. If we fail often enough, do we become failures? There are sure times when we feel like failures.
Why do we fail? Simply put, we fail because we aren't God. We aren't omniscient, we don't know everything. And we aren't omnipotent, powerful enough to do anything. Failure is often the result of lack of information or skill. We did our best, but we still came up short. If we look back, we'll find somewhere there was a miscalculation in what we thought or did that we can learn from. There's nothing wrong with failure. We may do our best, try our hardest, and God may allow us to fail. Then we'll be sad, but, we can deal with sadness. It's a good, normal human emotion. We don't need to be destroyed over it. We can inform our sadness that someday we'll look back on this failure and be thankful that it happened exactly as it happened because God is working all things together for our good. (Romans 8:28)
This assumes we were faithful and weren't doing something stupid. If I think I'm going to jump off the top of a skyscraper and fly over to my friend's house, then I'm just being an idiot. God's blessings don't include an insurance policy protecting me from my own idiotic choices. Assuming that we're listening to wisdom, doing our part to be faithful, and seeking God , our earthly success or failure is irrelevant.
What if I believed that? How confident would I be if I knew that my ability was beside the point because the results were in God's hands? Even if it's uncomfortable for a season, we'll be able to look back on failure and see that God used it for good and rejoice in it. What might you try if you knew this was true?
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