Some of you out there failed big time. You screwed up, and it wasn’t just a little “oopsie.” It was a major mistake. It had massive consequences, consequences that will last the rest of your life. The mistakes you’ve made affected others, ended relationships, and cost you dearly. You swore you would never __________.
But you did.
Now the results are irreversible. The damage is done. And you have the scars to prove it.
You wish it had never happened. You wish you’d never gone down that road. You wish it were just a horrible nightmare.
But it’s not.
Dear friend, I know you think all is lost. I know you feel defeated. I know you believe there is no redemption.
But there is.
Do you remember Peter? Peter, the rash one. The one who swore, too, that he would never. But he did. Over and over and over again. (Luke 22) Peter, who meant well, but failed big. Peter, whose heart wanted to do the right thing, but whose flesh won time after time. God knows Peter loved Jesus, but he just couldn’t seem to keep his mouth from getting him into trouble. He often ran ahead, always acting before thinking, it seemed. (John 13:9, Luke 22, John 18:10, Luke 24:12)
Are you feeling a bit like Peter? Have your words caused you to bite your tongue, wishing you’d kept quiet? Or have others, perhaps, told you you need to “zip your lips?” Or maybe you’ve often been accused of “leaping without looking?”
Friend, you are not alone. In fact, you (and I) are a lot like Peter.
But this is not bad news.
It doesn’t matter what “they” think. It doesn’t matter that “they” think you talk too much. It doesn’t matter that “they” think you’re too bold and impetuous.
What matters is what Jesus thinks. Jesus wasn’t unaware of Peter’s shortcomings, you know. He knew everything about Peter, and He knows everything about you. He knew Peter would fail him. (Luke 22:34) He knows we will fail him, and yet He calls us, just as He called Peter.
You have a voice, the voice God gave you. You take action because action is what Jesus outfitted you with. And you have failure because it humbles you. Failure is not a sign that you should quit, Friend. Failure is your call to “not think of yourself more highly than you ought,” but to recognize where your strength comes from; that it comes not from you, but from Christ. (Rom. 12:3)
Our failures can either lock us up in despair or launch us into confidently proclaiming the power of Christ. Peter wept bitterly over his failure. (Luke 22:62) Weep over yours. Then get up like Peter, accept God’s forgiveness, and go forward. Peter, as soon as he knew Jesus was near, took off as fast as he could for him. (John 21:7) After his failure, after his disappointment and bitter recognition of his own unworthiness, Peter got back to business.
Dear Friend, you failed. It’s true. But now take the grace that’s been given you and show others what Christ has done for you. Be the Peter He calls you to be. Remember that your confidence isn’t in you, but in Jesus. He will build His church, your failures and all.