Saturday, May 26, 2012

Handling Mistakes and Failure

Peter's Examples

"Get thee behind me, Satan"   -Matthew 16: 16-17, 22-23

We learn through our mistakes if we remain humble, teachable, and entreatable. At one moment Peter received a great revelation from the Father; the next moment he was influenced by the enemy. In one moment he was praised for his insight; the next moment he was rebuked for speaking without knowledge. Experiences such as these helped Peter to grow in discernment. If Peter and the other disciples had to learn through their mistakes, how much more should we expect to do the same? Instruction and discipline are the way of life. We should not be surprised and ashamed when we need them.

"Lord, let us build three tabernacles..."   -Luke 9: 33

Peter stood in the glory of God and, even there, spoke foolishly. The Father had to silence him and move Peter's focus back to Jesus. It is a mistake to think a person is infallible just because he has been in the glory of God's presence. Experiencing the miraculous and the supernatural does not guarantee that a person's every thought, idea, and response is accurate. God uses imperfect vessels. Likewise, if God uses a person in one area, that does not make him perfect or an expert in other areas. Once again Peter learned from his mistakes.

"Lord, bid me come."    -Matthew 14: 24-31

Peter was nervous about taking the risk. Therefore, he did not say "Let me come" walking on the water, but rather, "Command me to come." The clear commission removes the fear. At His command we can go forward in faith. And even if we, like Peter, begin to sink we can still rejoice that we were going to Jesus in faith as opposed to staying safely in the boat with those who never fail but who never accomplish anything either.
When Peter began to sink, he did not drown in failure but called out, "Lord, save me!" God is more pleased with those who stumble attempting to walk on water than with those who remain safely in the boat.

"I have prayed for you..."   -Luke 22: 31-34, 60-62

Jesus did not rebuke Peter for the denial that was to come, but rather encouraged him and prayed that he would respond properly, repent, and come through it in faith rather than giving up and quitting. Jesus wanted him to come through the situation strong and able to strengthen others.

Your ability to strengthen and encourage others does not come from your never failing, nor does it come from your always being strong, but rather from your ability to break and "turn again," to repent and appropriate grace when you have failed or have sinned. Don't let faith fail when you fail.

"The Lord turned and looked at Peter" at the very moment Peter was denying Him. Considering the context, this is one of the most precious sentences in the Bible. The sovereignty and love of God are revealed in this glance. That look was not one of condemnation, but of mercy, acceptance, and encouragement. God had providentially orchestrated the events of Jesus' trial so that Jesus would be able to turn and look at Peter at just the right moment. That glance came at the perfect time to encourage Peter and remind him of Jesus' words— "I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren."

"...What diligence it [godly sorrow] produced in you,..."   -2 Corinthians 7: 8-11

What will you do with your shame? Just be embarrassed, or be broken and turn to the Lord?
Often people are humiliated but not humbled. We must find godly sorrow and not the "sorrow of the world." Worldly sorrow can be a form of self-centeredness and rebellion. It causes us to wallow in self-pity, to remain in the pit, and to stay stubborn before God. Godly sorrow causes us to arise, to depend upon God's mercy, and to appropriate His transforming and enabling grace.


Anonymous said...

Hi Billy,
I hope this email finds you,Laurel and the family doing well. I just wanted to let you know how much your most resent Blog post, “Handling Mistakes and Failure” profoundly touched me and a good friend of mine.

My friend recently made a major mistake when communicating with some colleagues regarding a planned national business meeting. This mistake caused major confusion among many and a very unfavorable response from one of the national leaders within this organization. My friend was really down on himself and was dealing with his mistake from a “Worldly Sorrow” point of view. However, after reading your Blog post on “Handling Mistakes and Failure” he is now seeking Godly sorrow and attempting to arise above his mistake and making an effort to depend upon God’s mercy and grace, instead of his own.

Your ongoing ministry and words of encouragement which are delivered through this online Blog are truly transforming lives and speaking to the hearts of many through the spirit of God. Please keep seeking the Lord’s wisdom for future post and sharing your remarkable insights on practical daily issues which each of us encounter. We’ll keep reading and God will keep speaking…….

Your friend,

Beth said...

Thank you, Billy, for sharing another great word. God's blessings be on your family and loved ones.