Summary: Everyone fails, but not everyone responds to failure the same way. Here are some biblical truths to help people recover from failure.
“All of us have failed, falling way short of fulfilling the beauty of God‘s plan, that which God intended us to be.”(paraphrase of Romans 3:23)
Americans have very little patience for losers. A team starts having a losing season, ticket sales plummet. A certain sports star, who has the reputation for excelling, when they hit a drought, or difficult time, the fans turn into fault-finders. There’s a famous American expression: “When you’re hot you’re hot, and when you’re not, you’re not.”
In America, we hate losers and we love winners. Failure is considered the unpardonable sin. We canonize champions, we adore achievers. We worship winners, and we sanctify the successful. Everybody wants to succeed. The fact is, I’ve never met anybody in life who’s said, “My life goal is to fail.” Everybody strives for success because failure comes all to easy.
And the emphasis on success puts enormous stress on our society, because failure is a part of life. Yet nobody wants to be called or considered a failure. I suppose that’s a part of life as well. But many people will do anything - lie, cheat, steal, lower their standards, or morals - in order to succeed. It really is that important to people.
"Failure" is the one thing you don’t want to be labeled as. And as a result, we fear failure. We’re afraid of what it might do to us. If I fail what will happen to me? What will other people think? Will I be rejected? Will anybody love me? Will I be considered worthless? The fear of failure is a universal fear. And it causes many people and enormous amount of stress in their lives.
The fear of failure can cause you to be indecisive, you’re worried about what choice to make. What if I make the wrong choice? So you can’t decide. The fear of failure can cause you to be a workaholic - you work and overwork, trying to keep up, trying to get ahead, trying to stay ahead.
The fear of failure can cause you to be a perfectionist where you’re always worried that it’s never good enough to meet the critiquing of people. And you’re never quite satisfied because you’re afraid people won’t like what you did, or how you did it, you’ll be looked on as a failure.
The fact is, failure is a part of life. The first fact about failure is that failure is a fact. And though we can seek to minimize our mistakes and failures, the issue is not how to keep from failing, but how to survive and recover from failure.
Today we’re going to look at what God says about failure in His Word, and we’re going to try to reduce the stress level in our lives by looking at four things we can do WHEN we fail. Not if, but when. Let me ask you: WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU FAIL? Let me mention two of four things to you.
1. REMEMBER EVERYBODY FAILS - Have you made mistakes? Welcome to the human race. It just means you’re alive. In James 3:2 (NIV) it says, “We all stumble in many ways.” We’re all living proof of this verse. Failure is a part of life. You are going to fail. The Bible tells us, “We all stumble in many ways.”
Let’s review the facts of life: 1. You have already failed many, many times in your life. 2. Right now you are probably failing in some areas of your life. 3. You’re going to fail many more times in the future. It’s inevitable - it’s a part of life.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 - “There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never makes a mistake.” Nobody’s perfect. The closest you’re ever going to get to perfection is when you are filling out a self-description on a job application. Because you don’t discuss the failures, do you? You describe the successes. And when you’re describing yourself, or handing them your resume about yourself, that’s the best you’re ever going to be. But everyone fails. Even those who are the best at what they do, do not do it right all the time.
Even the superstars fail. Pro basketball players miss on the average of 50% of their shots. In professional baseball, a player is considered outstanding if he can get on base 3 out of every 10 times he gets up to bat. And they also say, that, the players who hit the most home runs usually strike out the most, too. *They strike out more than they get on base. And those are the superstars. Those are the ones who get paid the multi-million dollar contracts.
Everybody fails. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of God’s mark of perfection.” *I heard of a pastor who was teaching on this verse one time. He said, “We’ve all fallen short. Thank God that He forgives our falling shorts.” Morally we all have falling shorts, those times and acts that leave us embarrassed. We all miss the mark. We all fall short.