Failure can be a source of strength

The Rev Richard Baxter, Kennoway, Windygates & Balgonie: St Kenneth's
The Rev Richard Baxter, Kennoway, Windygates & Balgonie: St Kenneth's
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HAVE you had any good failures lately?

It may seem a strange question, because we normally assume failures are a bad thing.

Yet in many fields of life, repeated failures from which we learn and grow and change are the foundation of success.

To play a musical instrument well, develop sporting talent, or learn a craft skill, failure is vital.

Only if we are prepared to try and fail, over and over again, can we ever hope to become real experts.

Shizuka Arakawa of Japan became one of the world’s greatest ever figure skaters, winning an Olympic gold medal in 2006.

She got to the top of her chosen field by sheer hard work.

It has been estimated that, in the course of her five-year progression to become an Olympic champion, she fell on her backside around 20,000 times.

Every time she fell, she had to get up, work out what went wrong and try the move again until she perfected it.

The key to her success was accepting failure, learning from it, and trying again.

All of us need to learn from our failures and mistakes in life.

It is sometimes wrongly assumed that churches are places for people who think they are good.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Churches are places for people who want to live good lives but who know that, all too often, we fail.

They are places for people who are prepared to be honest about their own shortcomings, but willing to learn from those, by seeking God’s forgiveness and trying again.

When Peter asked Jesus: “If my brother does me wrong, how often should I forgive him? Seven times?”

“No,” replied Jesus. “Seventy times seven.”

Failure, and the need to deal with it, is an inevitable part of life.

We all get things wrong. The issue is what we do with it.

Real failure is to get something wrong and give up.

By contrast, if we are willing to learn from our failures, to be forgiven and try again, then it can become the foundation of successful living.