We’ve all faced failure. The question is: how do we go forward after failure? Especially, when we’ve failed our family or our friends. When it comes to motherhood, it can be hard to handle the days we just don’t do things well. What’s a mom to do when she blows it big time?
Today, I totally blew it.
I lost my temper, my composure, and quite possibly some of my son’s respect.
Oh, I could give you ample reason for my anger, but we both know the truth: I didn’t handle it properly.
In my anger, I sinned.
After my son went to his room, I put my head down and thought, “What now?”
It’s not the first time I’ve had to ask that question, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I’m a habitual sinner, it seems.
We all are, aren’t we? We’re made of flesh, and it is weak. Let’s face it: we are dreadfully prone to falling, failing and landing flat on our faces. The impact hurts both our hearts and those of the ones we bring down with us.
We seldom sin in solitude, no matter how much we might like to think our sin is private and personal. It affects our relationships in ways we don’t even know sometimes.
Other times, like today, it is blatantly obvious that other people are impacted.
I would love to think that I’ve finally learned my lesson, that today my lifelong battle with a bad temper will finally be won, but I know myself too well. I can honestly lament with Paul that “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do….For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:15-18)
Even though I will continue to strive for holiness, I will still sin.
That’s the truth, but not the end of it.
You see, as much as I believe in sinful nature, I also believe in God’s infinite grace.
As Paul puts in in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe…”Our failures can point others to his faithfulness.Click To Tweet
My failures can point others to his faithfulness.
Yours can, too, you know.
The only question is “How?”
Your failure can be forgiven.
For a few moments after sending my son to his room, I sat in silence and composed myself. I knew the things I needed to say to my son, but I also knew I needed to mean them.
My heart needed healing.
So I confessed my sin and agreed with God that I had done wrong. I asked his forgiveness, and do you know what?
I received it.
1 John 1:9 promises that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I’m not going to lie. Sometimes that’s just hard to believe, isn’t it? We can screw up so royally that it seems impossible to think God is willing to forgive us, or even that He’s able.
Please hear me say this: That is a lie. You can be forgiven because God’s grace really is that great.Here's the truth: You can be forgiven because God's grace really is that great. Click To Tweet
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:32, which says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
If God was willing to send his Son as a sacrifice for our sins, why would he withhold the forgiveness that very Son made possible?
“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
To make things right when we’ve been wrong, we have to start with God. After all, no matter who else we hurt, our sins are always against God. That’s why David said, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.” (Psalm 51:4)
He knew others had been hurt by his sins, but he also admitted that it was God’s law he had broken.
God’s forgiveness is the first thing we need.
The forgiveness of others is next on the list.
Humility Helps Us Heal
When I got up from the table today, I turned and headed upstairs. I left behind my need to be right and prove my son had been wrong. With each step, I took a deep breath and swallowed a bit more of my pride.
Because pride has no place in apologies.
To be honest, that’s why I didn’t run upstairs after him immediately. My heart wasn’t humble.
Proverbs 6:2-3 says that if “you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth,” you should humble yourself.
Y’all, my mouth has trapped me so many times! Humility is the only way out.
So, I told my son I was wrong, that I was sorry, and that I love him very much. I asked for his forgiveness.
He gave it. Thank the Lord, he gave it!
Sometimes people don’t though. We have to accept that though we seek forgiveness from others, we won’t always receive it. Humility allows others to hold on to the hurt.
A humble heart recognizes that we don’t deserve their forgiveness. It is theirs alone to give.
Our responsibility is simply to seek it and then to strive to make relationships right.
I could have stopped after asking my son for his forgiveness, but I want to see the problem we were having solved.
So I asked how we could change the situation to make it better, and then I listened to what he had to say.
You see, before I lost my temper, I was right about the situation. He was in the wrong.
I could just continue to press the issue, but humility wants to help.
For the sake of our relationship, I want to understand what caused the problem so that we can avoid it in the future. When we listen to others, we might learn ways we’ve hurt them without knowing it. It’s possible there are misunderstanding we know nothing about. Humility is open to the possibility that we are also part of the problem.
If that’s the case, we must swallow our pride and change our behavior.
It might be something as simple as recognizing a friend needs a bit more quality time or being sure to take the trash out so your husband doesn’t have to.
Today, our honest conversation ended with some actionable ideas for making our homeschool a bit happier.
Move Forward in Faith
Finally, the only thing left to do is move forward.
You can’t stay in the defeat you feel so make like Anne of Green Gables and remind yourself, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.”
His mercies will be new in the morning, and he keeps no record of wrongs. Don’t sacrifice your future to the failures of your past. Put your trust in the God who “makes all things beautiful in his time.”
After all, “we know that in all things he works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Do you not know that “all things” includes your failure? It’s not bigger than the father’s faithfulness.Your failure is not bigger than the Father's faithfulness.Click To Tweet
Today, I pray that when you face failure you will grab hold of God’s grace. It is sufficient for us.
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you’ll join us for Encouraging Word Wednesday this week and leave a link or two below! Be sure to visit some of our fellow bloggers and be encouraged by their words today. Also, I would love to hear from you in the comments. Let me know something you’ve learned from a time you faced failure. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?