Friday, April 4, 2008

For Sunday April 6 - Lessons from Failure

John 21:15-25
I don't think there is anything more disabling than failure. Grief is completely disabling, but there is usually a sense that, in time, the feelings will pass and life will get back to normal. Failure, though, can be even harder to "get over" or, more appropriately, heal from than death. Failure haunts us and makes us disconnect from others because it is such a lonely thing to fail.
Who hasn't had a failure? Every life is marked by a few of these nasty experiences and yet when it happens to us, or when we are the cause, it can scar us for a lifetime.
Peter had to feel like one huge loser. A true failure. He had been given a chance to be the "Rock" on which Jesus would build his Church; he was entrusted with huge secrets; he was blessed with a close friendship with Messiah. But he blew it. He disavowed Jesus. He denied knowing him three times and turned away. Judas killed himself when confronted with his shame. We could see Peter doing the same thing.
This week's passage is really about a new creation: The re-creation of Peter. If the message of a new Kingdom is going to have any teeth, it must bring newness to those who have failed; those who have been detroyed. And so it does. The lessons Jesus teaches Peter, and all those watching or reading the story ever since, have a lot to tell us about newness in Christ and how to come back from life's biggest failures.


  1. from Ward-

    Often something can be considered a failure, at first, but after a closer look, may not be. In areas like sports, school, or work-losing the race, doing poorly on a test, or not meeting a deadline, often feel like failures but actually turn out to be growth opportunities. Finishing second or third is fine, if it's an example of your best effort. Steve Prefontain never won the Olympic gold medal, but I don't think anyone considers him to be a failure.
    Failing in the more personal areas of life like honesty, integrity, reliability, or faith are more difficult to deal with, . Those kinds of failures are often the result of making the wrong choices and are not examples of our best effort. It's ironic that visible successes can be the result of hidden failures, like the athlete who wins by cheating or the business executive who succedes through fraud.
    I hope my failures, both the superficial and the deeper ones, will help me to grow.

    "There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all" Bob Dylan

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