Monday, September 12, 2011

Coming In By the Back Door

Many people feel their lives are ruined because of some failure in their past. Ruined might be too strong a word, but relentless shame or a feeling of disgrace may plague them.

I remember when I failed terribly in front of some of my peers in a business meeting. My behavior was unkind and out of control—truly sad. Even worse, one of those peers was a man who I had been trying to help in his walk with God.  

As I thought about what I did, I wanted to run away. But the Spirit of God led me not only to go back, but to share my feelings of failure with my friend. The next day I told him how sorry I was that I had failed to be Christ-like in my actions. I also shared that I had been forgiven by God and that the failure was not fatal in God's sight. Then I learned that one of my friend’s greatest struggles was dealing with his own failures, and from that experience he began to understand that his own failures were not fatal either. 

God specializes in taking our failures and turning them into avenues of blessing and growth if we will allow him to. The Apostle Peter is a good example of how God can turn our failures into stepping stones.  

Just before Peter failed Jesus by denying him, Jesus said to him, "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." Yet, knowing the great failure Peter was to face in just a few short hours, Jesus did not treat him with contempt.   

People hold our failures against us; Jesus doesn't. People refuse to give you second-chances; Jesus doesn't. People look at failure as the end of the road; Jesus sees it as a place of new beginning. 

Jesus told Peter he had already prayed for him, that "when you have turned back," he would strengthen his brothers. Jesus believed that even though Peter was going to fail miserably, he could have a comeback. As a result of failing and coming back, Peter would be able to strengthen his brothers. Though it wasn't right for Peter to fail Jesus as he did, nonetheless that failure was used by God to help Peter become the mighty apostle we read about in Acts. 

Do you see what I mean about failure? God is able to use it for good in our lives. God can even turn it into an avenue of service. 

Do you feel totally guilt-ridden, as though you've had a fatal failure? Please understand this marvelous truth:  Jesus is in the business of restoration and recovery. Your failure can be your back door to a new beginning.

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