Summary: No matter how messed up or ugly you think or feel you are, you are priceless to God and nothing in all creation can separate you from His love. And what is even more awesome to consider is that through your flaws, weaknesses and failures the power of God
The phrase “Epic Fail” has gained some traction in the last couple of years especially in social media. #epicfail is a popular hashtag. Here are a couple of examples of #epicfail hashtags on twitter.
Saw a lady this morning in her workout gear walking briskly while smoking and on her cell phone! #epicfail
A five year old just did math quicker than me…#epicfail
The CIA director couldn't keep his affair a secret? Isn't that the first thing they teach a spy? #epicfail
And there are thousands more. Failure is a part of life. We expect failure. Nobody is perfect. I have said before that if there was a youtube video of every sinful thing that every person who attends this church has ever done and we were going to show it here, nobody would come. And for good reason. But God has this video, so to speak. He knows every good or bad thing that you’ve ever done. The truth is that without failure there would be no redemption. There would be no forgiveness, no mercy and certainly no grace.
Failure is a part of life. We tweet about failure. Failure can be funny.
But often failure isn’t funny. Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb said, "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work." Dan Pierce a blogger who contributes on his site, “Single Dad Laughing” wrote a piece called, “16 Ways I Blew My Marriage.” He says and I quote, “You know what blows big time? The other night I was sitting with my family, most of whom are very successfully married. We were going in a circle giving our best marriage advice to my little sister on the eve of her wedding. It’s somewhat of a family tradition. But that’s not what blows. What really blows is that I realized I don’t have any good marriage advice to give. After all, I’ve never had a successful marriage out of the two marriages I did have. And so…I realized…I don’t have marriage advice to give, but I have plenty of “keep your marriage from ending” advice and that might be almost as good.”
These are his 16 points, based on his two failed marriages, for not blowing a marriage:
1. Don’t Stop Holding Her Hand
2. Don’t Stop Trying To Be Attractive
3. Don’t Always Point Out Her Weaknesses
4. Don’t Stop Cooking For Her
5. Don’t Yell At Your Spouse
6. Don’t Call Names
7. Don’t Be Stingy With Your Money
8. Don’t Argue In Front Of The Kids
9. Don’t Encourage Each Other To Stop Working Out
10. Don’t Go To The Bathroom And Leave The Door Open
11. Don’t Stop Kissing Her
12. Don’t Stop Having Fun Together
13. Don’t Pressure Each Other
14. Don’t Label Each Other With Negative Labels
15. Don’t Skip Out On Things That Are Important To Her
16. Don’t Emotionally Distance Yourself After A Fight
Now, I may not agree with all of these points or think that every point on this list is valid for keeping a marriage together, but, the reason I shared this, is because he’s an example of someone who has learned from his failure.
A few weeks ago we took a look at the lives of Judas and Peter. Both men spent three years with Jesus. They listened to the same sermons, they saw the same miracles, they walked and talked with Jesus. But they had completely different experiences with Jesus. While Peter was getting out of the boat, asking challenging questions, and seeking to spend as much time with Jesus as he could, Judas stayed in the boat, criticized what people did for Jesus and spent time conceiving of how he could betray him. Peter failed at his promise to stick by Jesus and to defend him even if it cost him his life. Peter denied knowing Jesus when his life was on the line. Judas failed Jesus by betraying him to the authorities who would be responsible for his execution. So both guys failed. But here’s the big difference between the two guys. Peter learned from his failure. He allowed Jesus to forgive him. He would never deny Jesus again. But Judas didn’t. He failed as Peter did, but, he allowed his sin to consume him. He took his life and we don’t know whether he experienced the forgiveness of God or not. Peter allowed his life to be a witness for the Grace of Jesus, Judas didn’t.
Paul also talks to us about failure. There were some folks who were following Paul on his journeys and once he left a church or a city to go somewhere else, these guys would try to undermine his authority by saying things like, “Paul isn’t one of the original Apostles’, he didn’t actually walk with Jesus, or hear his teaching in person.” And they would bring up his past about persecuting Christians, they would talk about the stoning of Stephen and the other atrocities that Saul arranged and led as a Pharisee. They would claim that Saul was responsible for the murder of Jesus because he was a member of the Sanhedrin the Jewish court that originally convicted Jesus of breaking the law. So everywhere Paul went to teach the Word, he had to confront these accusations, and make his case that even though his past was severely flawed, he was called by God to be an Apostle and to teach the Word of God to these early followers.