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Pointers along the way #526

Turning failures into assets
- Jacob Ninan

If we fall into sin or make a mistake in our life, is it enough to confess it and get forgiveness (1Jn.1:9)? Of course, this is a minimum response from our side to get back to God and people. But if we leave it at that, we would be missing some treasures that could be unearthed by looking at clues we can find more clearly after a failure than at normal times.

If we can learn from our mistakes, it is not only that we can learn to avoid similar mistakes in the future and prevent consequences that will hit us badly, but we also can learn a lot about why we think and behave the way we do. We can also have a better understanding of the constraints under which other people behave. On the whole it can make us better people, and we can also lessen the negative impacts of our foolish behaviour on ourselves and others.

But the spirit of the times, which has also infiltrated the church to a large extent, dissuades us from looking at our faults or failures saying that it will only produce hindrances for our happiness and future. We are 'encouraged' to look only at the 'positive' things. But the fact is that we have negative things because we were born in sin (Ps.51:5), as a result of which our thinking, feelings and will have all become distorted. Jesus has come to set us free from all sin and bondage and lead us to an abundant life (Jn.10:10). This transformation does not take place automatically when we put our trust in Him, but only as we take up our cross daily, deny ourselves and follow Him (Lk.9:23). The first step we need to take is to look squarely at our failures, acknowledge them, ask God for forgiveness and for help not to make the same mistake again.

Some people look at how to avoid their foolish behaviour in the future, e.g., by taking a deep breath when we are getting angry with someone. But that does not deal with the cause of our anger, or any other behaviour we are concerned with. Without dealing with the root of our problem, we will not be able to prevent the same behaviour from happening again. But when we ask God to show us why we behave in a particular way, and then think about it along with what the Bible tells us about it, we may get an understanding about ourselves. We may see a wrong attitude, a wrong opinion about others, a wrong goal, or other things like that, which can then be corrected.

We will then begin to understand how others behave, from the point of their ignorance, bad experiences of the past, wrong goals, etc., (just like we also do), and become more merciful and less demanding towards them.

When these two things happen, the consequences of our behaviour and our interactions with others will also begin to change. If we are feeding on the word of God all the time along with learning from our mistakes, we will be becoming more like Jesus also. Isn't that what every Christian really wants? And of course, that is what the Lord wants for us. Let's look at our sins, and get right.


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