Failing Forward

Have you ever failed at something? Maybe a job? A home improvement project? Learning a language? Cooking a meal? Or even an exam? There are many things we all fail at. The measure of ourselves may just be that we Fail
Forward. (Not my term, read it somewhere!)

One of the greatest examples of turning a failure into good might just be Simon Peter. I started to think about this when reading on Good Friday. Last year Pastor and I wrote about Judas; this year, I wondered how Peter could deny Jesus three times and still become the “Rock” on which the Christian church is founded. His Hebrew name was Simeon, and he was a fisherman with his brother Andrew. Throughout the Bible, he is referred to as Simon Peter and
not the nickname Cephas, meaning rock, which Jesus called him in Aramaic. However, as we know, it was prophetic. Jesus told Peter he would become a martyr; a martyr indeed, as when Peter was crucified, he asked to be crucified upside down.

Peter’s character is very interesting and very human. He was rash, short-tempered, and hasty, but at the same time he was described as gentle but firm. He was outspoken and assertive but completely loyal to Jesus. We know that all four Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion tell of his denial of knowing Jesus. According to several experts, weakness, and fear (very human characteristics) made him do it. At the Last Supper, Peter insists he is loyal, but Jesus replies
that Peter will deny Him three times before the rooster crows the following morning. Jesus understood that being human puts pressure on people and they waver. Jesus also knew that weakness would not undo what Peter would

Failure is a reality of life, of being human, of being flawed. However, like Peter, we should not use failure to destroy and define our lives. Failure hurts, but it is not final; rather it is a learning experience. Fear and weakness overcame Peter, but recognizing the failure, he went out and wept. Jesus forgave him. Peter went to work on the mission Jesus had given him. God forgives our failures, too. So, we can set out on our missions in life.

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