Failure is Always an Option

I went to check out a dear friend from alcohol rehab. While he gathered his things, I met with the counselor for the exit interview. She looked at me and said very matter of factly "he will need to go to rehab again. Make no mistake, no alcoholic stops drinking on the first try."

I couldn't believe it. Why would she be so pessimistic? Why would she tell me this?

Four months later I got the call that my friend was once again checking into rehab. "Are you ashamed of me?" he asked. "No way man. I am proud of you." Even then I knew that admitting you had failed a second time would be harder than the first. 

At that point I was so glad someone had warned me he would fail. Since I saw it coming, I could be encouraging instead of disappointed. I could lift his spirits instead of increasing his shame. 

If you are trying to quit sin, you will fail. You will look at pornography again. You will take another drink. You will lose your temper, you will curse, and you will sin again. 

This is not bad news; it is simply true news. 

When that failure occurs, do not beat yourself up. Do not shame yourself, or punish yourself. The temptation to do those things shows that you have put too much faith in your own abilities and strength. Instead, confess your sin, take a deep drink of living water, and start trying again. Jesus is still the one who welcomes sinners. Jehovah is still the sinners' friend, and ever will be the same. 

Do not worry about disappointing your friends. We love you. The only way you can disappoint us is by covering the truth, or even worse by not trying any more. 

The more you fail, the more humble you will become. The more you confess and receive grace, the more secure you will be in your savior's love. The more you receive that love, the more you will love him back. Wonderfully, the more you are humbled, and the more you love Jesus, the more holy you will become. 

Holiness, like success, only comes through failure. 

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