A Twist on Failure

"But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins." Romans 5:15-16 (NLT)

I heard this today: Failure is someone else's opinion on what you have done. Girlfriends, our God looks at failure completely differently than we do. Everyone fails. Everyone. Every single one of us has said something we deeply regret, done something we cannot undo, and felt the horrible fear of our worlds never being right again.

Scripture is such a comfort to me. I cannot tell you how many times I have thanked God for His Word. Between the pages of my Bible are stories that assure me that whatever I am facing has been done, said, or thought before. The Bible is full of people who had failed starts, starting with Adam. I think of Abraham's fear that led him to put his wife, Sarah, in danger of being molested by powerful men, not once but twice. Did God hold that lapse of judgment against him forever? No, Abraham was told that he would become father of countless descendants and that that all nations of the world would be blessed because of him. Why? Because Abraham believed God and that faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Moses bucked God at the thought of being the spokesperson to go to the most powerful man in the known world, Pharoah, to command the king to let the Israelites go after 400 years of slavery. He had killed an Egyptian man, hid him, and then fled after he found out that others had seen what he had done. But after forty years of being a shepherd in the desert, he became the voice of God to Pharoah and led the nation of Israel out of their bondage.

David had an affair with a married woman. Then he killed her husband and covered it up. He suffered great consequences within his own family because of that decision, yet New Testament Scripture tells us that he was a man after God's own heart. One could say he was a man of moral failure, but the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was his descendant.

My beloved sisters, whose voice are you listening to today? Are you suffocating under a load of self-condemnation? Has the enemy convinced you that you have really blown it this time? Have you done the unthinkable? The unforgivable?

I believe there is no burden heavier than the burden of guilt. I have asked for forgiveness for the same sin one hundred times and have still not believed that I was forgiven. It is a very dangerous thing to equate my emotions with my standing before God. I have got to stand on the truth of Scripture, believing it by faith, when I cannot find peace even though I have asked to be cleansed from my sin. Hebrews 11:1 gives me the definition of faith:

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

Faith is believing, in spite of my emotions, that Jesus' death on the cross allows me to be forgiven, even when I don't feel like I am.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I John 1:9

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." Psalm 51:17

"Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!" Micah 7:19

Those sins that we have been carrying around are forgiven the moment we confess them. If we are broken and contrite about what we have done, our God will not despise us. He longs to be compassionate to us. Our confessed sins have been thrown into the depths of God's ocean of forgiveness. Let's leave them there, girlfriend, and tell the enemy that we are not condemned because of the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.

Jesus, the hardest person to forgive is myself. The crushing disappointment I have over my sin can make me paralyzed. Not believing that I am forgiven after I have confessed my sin is a sin! It is calling You powerless to cleanse me. Help me to leave my guilt and shame with You, knowing that in You there is no condemnation.