Monday, June 12, 2017

God Loves Working with People Who Are Failures

Sioux Falls, SD
Someone shared with me that they wanted to follow Jesus, but were afraid they would fail. Their fear of failure was leading them to stay distant from God. Here are some thoughts I have about this.

1. Anyone who follows Jesus will, at times, fail. Follow anything and you will, at times, fail. Mistakes will be made.

2. What's needed is a community of Jesus-followers who are non-judgmental about failure. What's needed are Jesus-followers who are learning to love as Jesus loves.

Paul wrote, "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

Sadly, the amount of in-fighting and slandering within "churches," and towards outsiders, makes church the last place where you'd want to fail. Avoid these churches.

Churches that are successful in the Jesus Way are honest and real about failure, without condemnation and judgmentalism. We all need this kind of more perfect love. "Perfect love casts out fear; there is no fear in love" (1 John 4:18).

3. Unless you get real about your failure, you will never succeed. "Success" is: growing into greater Christlikeness. Not one of us is there yet. All of us are failing in some ways. Avoid people who do not understand this (love them anyway, but don't fellowship with them).

People who act as if they never fail but you do fail are spiritually toxic. They are failure-producing people who want to bring you down to the level of their failure.

4. Remember the Original Twelve, Jesus' inner circle of disciples. They misunderstood Jesus, stumbled spiritually, misjudged things, betrayed Jesus, and eventually left his side at the point of his greatest suffering. Yet out of the rubbish of their failure came the first real Jesus-followers. You and I can likewise be transformed as we go after Jesus.

In the spiritual journal I have now kept for forty years I have recorded many instances of my own failures. Some of these have been seen by other people. A number of them are known only by my wife Linda and my sons. Some are known by God and I. And some are only known by God, and I am ignorant of them.

As I have journaled about these failures of action and attitude, I have always encountered a God of love and grace who forgives me, and continues to mold and shape me. God will not give up on me, or you, if we come to him with a heart that says, "God, I love you, and want to learn how to love you more."

God loves working with  people who are failures. After all, it's all he has to work with.