To say that I have occasionally messed up or made poor decisions is an understatement.
As I think about all the mistakes or bonehead moves I have made, I am humbled and constantly reminded that I am not perfect. There was that time where the snow bank blew up as a result of throwing dry ice into the snow — BAM! That other time where I toilet papered my 6th grade classroom as a dare and got sent to the principals office . . . Another time where I skipped gym class to go to McDonald’s only to find my father (who is a police officer) stopped at the red light next to me in his police vehicle . . . Then, there was that one time in college that my judgment was blurred and the list goes on and on.
Generally, my days sound like a total abomination.
Mia Hamm, a retired American professional soccer player once said, “Failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”
We sin. We mess up. We fall. How do we react?
When Jesus chose you to be his disciple (yes He chose you!), He foresaw your future failures as sure as he foresaw Peter’s EPIC FAIL of denying Christ. We may not want to believe that we could deny Jesus by engaging in a sin that contradicts everything we believe. But Jesus knows what is in us and the cool thing is – He still has our back. So He exhorts us along with Peter to “watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Shame over past failures and sins can haunt and inhibit us in many ways. And Satan seeks to steal and destroy (John 10:10) our faith by putting our failures in our face. BUT, Jesus redeems us completely.
Peter’s failure did not define him. And ours will not define us. They are horrible, sometimes stupid, yet humbling experiences on the path of following Jesus, who paid for them all on the cross. Blessed John Paul II said, “We are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of his Son.”
And Jesus specializes in transforming failures into rocks of strength for his Church. Just look at Peter, St. Augustine, St. Francis, and plenty of other examples. I can only pray that one day that list will include me – the girl who had a lot of epic fails but chose forgiveness in Christ and was forever embraced in God’s merciful love.