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Dealing with Failure (3 of 3)

Mike Connell

Page 6 of 9
Now you can imagine the anticipation of that day. He's got the trumpeters there, he's got everyone out, got everything going again, and there it is - but he said this: We made a mistake, we didn't do it God's way last time. We were trying our best, and we meant well, but we just didn't do it right. He said: God showed me what to do. This time it was a success, so he learned from his failure, but what a glorious failure. What a glorious failure, total failure in front of the whole country. Don't you just love that? Not a little quiet one somewhere, that you can hide you know? If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence you tried, you know? He learnt from his experience. So how are we going to deal with failure? So failures are either a stepping stone to grow, or they're going to really wound you, and then it'll make you more and more reluctant to step out, so here's a few simple keys for doing. Number one, you need to own the failure. If you've made a mistake, had a failure in your life, something's gone wrong, you just have to take ownership of it. That's completely opposite of blame shifting; blaming, you're trying to find someone else to blame for our mistake.

The Bible says: if we cover our sin or mistakes or failures, we will not prosper. Now what's going on in many lives here, is that there's a covering of things that are wrong. When you cover things that are wrong, notice you can't progress. You can't advance, you can't go forward. If you confess them, and then turn away from them, you always experience mercy, and the grace of God to get you growing; but the first step is to stop covering, and stop concealing, and actually face it. So we've got to call it what it is. You've got to say: I failed. I messed up, really I messed up. That's a hard thing to say. You know what, it's hard for men to say. They have a choking fit when they try and say it: I was wrong. I was wrong. It's very hard for a man to say that. You just wait and see if you next hear a man say: I was wrong, very hard to say it. It's pride of course, but you have to admit it. I was wrong, I made a mistake, I got it wrong, I failed. I did it wrong. If you just own up - once you've said: I made a mistake, you've got ownership. Now you can do something to fix it up.

Notice that when Saul makes a mistake, twice he does the same thing: Ooh, aah, well, the circumstances, all these Philistines were gathered against me, and the people were all leaving, and you didn't come in the time. Notice, no responsibility for doing something wrong, and the prophet said: you've really done foolishly. You read it in 1 Samuel 13 and he says: you could have been the king, but now you're going to lose your kingdom, because you can't handle being responsible. Next time he did something silly he got another chance, he got a second chance. Next time he did the same thing, still did it wrong, but blamed everyone else, and then when it came to actually saying: I've sinned, and made a mistake, he wasn't very sincere. He just said: aah listen, by the way can you just stand with me when we're doing the offering, so everyone sees everything's okay between us? His whole manner about it is: I just want to look good. There was no ownership of the failure; whereas David always owned his failures, just came straight up and said: man, I really blew it. I'm sorry.

So the thing is, humility means you're just actually willing to own up: I made the mistake, it was wrong. I did wrong, I spoke wrong, and I'm going to own it. Now if I own it, I've got the power to change it, and the power to learn from it. If I blame, I can't do anything. The second thing, you need to evaluate your failure, need to have a look at it. What actually did I do wrong? Where did it go wrong? Usually one of the things I look at it is how I feel. Sometimes you feel really ashamed, sometimes you feel really guilty, sometimes you really feel like discouraged and disheartened. Sometimes you feel like you're very lacking in skill and ability. You have all kinds of feelings go on when you fail, but if you identify the feelings, you can often understand what you really believe about failure in your heart. So while we all will accept in a church meeting that God forgives sin, actually we wrestle with our personal struggles, because we believe something else; and so it helps just to identify what you feel when you fail: What's going on in my heart? And then how do I respond normally, when my failure is obvious? How do I respond? Now this is an interesting one when you ask.