What was God thinking?
From the very beginning He gave us a free will—the ability to choose right or wrong—and from the start until now, we humans have chosen poorly. Consistently. (But that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. More on that in a bit.)
The first human couple blew it, badly, and then their son murdered his brother. Not a proud parent moment, but failure was in his nature because of the fall.
Fast forward to Abraham, the great patriarch of faith for three religions (count ‘em, three, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity). He truly was an amazing man, but he had plenty of moments during which he was anything but great. There was that time he lied about his wife, Sarah, and forced her to tell Pharaoh she was his sister. There was that time he slept with his wife’s servant Hagar (not God’s idea or a good relational move). There was that time he gave Sarah permission to mistreat Hagar. And then there was that time he listened to Sarah and sent Hagar and Ishmael off into the desert to live alone. Abe was awesome, but he failed often.
Then there’s the prophet, priest, and king named David. Like Adam, David started well but failed miserably. Eventually, David had a change of heart and repented, but he was far from perfect, and he blew it on more than one occasion. Don’t even get me started about his son Solomon, the wisest guy ever, but he ended up in a mess too.
Have you read the book of Judges? God’s people (the Israelites) were a band of nomadic screw-ups. They wandered from God on a regular basis. Frankly, if the chosen ones were consistent at anything, it was failure.
How about Peter, the rock, who denied Christ? Or Paul, who wrote nearly half of the New Testament and his sidekick, Barnabas, with whom he had a nasty blow out that didn’t end well.
Believe me, I could go on all day.
News flash: You’re a human in relationship with humans, and all humans fail. All. We mean well and try hard, but sin is ever crouching at the door, and we open that door way too often.
So what can we do?
Don’t despair. God is merciful, patient, and kind. He gets that we are but dust.
Of course, sin matters. Certainly, we are to cooperate with God in the development of spiritual maturity. However, we must keep our eyes fixed on the only One who is perfect and not wallow in hopelessness when we blow it or someone close to us fails. Whether it’s personal sin or the sin of someone you love, don’t let depression consume you. Put your confidence in the Author of hope.
Don’t give up. The reason for your hope is simple: God is more committed to your ultimate success than you are, and He has the power to transform you.
He will never give up on you, or me, or the ones we love. I love that the Word says, “God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished (Phil. 1:6).” And Jude wrote that “God is able to keep you from falling away.”
Here’s the destructive pattern for most humans: We fail (or watch others fail). We get discouraged. We quit.
Not so with our Father. What He started, He will finish. God is able even when we humans are not. Our part is to stay the course and not to throw in the towel.
Don’t stop repenting. What matters most is that rather than run from God, we run to Him with contrite and humble hearts every time we sin. Remorse and regret without repentance only results in hopelessness. Repentance alone leads to life.
Unfortunately, it’s our nature to run from God and hide. How long will it take to figure out that the answer to your sin problem is not denial but confession and repentance?
God is not angry with you. He will never reject you no matter what you’ve done or how many times you’ve done it. You can, in fact, approach Him with confidence because that’s where you find His mercy and grace.
Here’s the pattern God expects: We fail. We confess. We repent. We grow. We fail again. We confess again. We repent again. We continue to grow.
Understanding what God wants and accepts changes the way you deal with your personal sin. It also changes the way you treat others when they fail. Rather than pretending that you’ve got it all figured out, you extend the grace you have received from God. Rather than treating others with self-righteous contempt, you show mercy as God has shown mercy to you.
Failure is only fatal when we succeed at failing.
By that I mean, when we neglect to handle our shortcomings and sin through confession and repentance. Make God both your hero and the answer to your fallen nature.
You and everyone around you is broken at some level. Get over it and stop expecting perfection. Learn how to deal appropriately with the reality of the human condition, and I promise, you’ll experience far more joy.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight.”
Romans 4:7 (NLT)
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