Richard Dawson, 7 June 2016
A surprising amount of human behaviour is, I believe, motivated by failure. Whether it be fear of failure, or wisdom gained through failure our actions often have failure in the background. We often think of this in pretty negative terms but the story of Peter’s redemption from his incredible betrayal of Jesus three times during His trial, shows that God uses failure in some amazing ways and it also shows that He is not fazed by our failure. Perhaps the biggest failure of humankind began with Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden, an event that led to the whole of humankind being trapped in the cycle of sin. Yet God has redeemed us through Christ and continues to show that He can work through and with our failures if we will admit them, face them and not be afraid of them. As Dave Smith of the Kingsgate community Church says ‘The call is greater than the fall!’ Fear of failure is, however, a real issue for it can cause us either to over-perform or to under-perform. Over-performers tend to look to their own strengths to overcome a perceived or real failure which would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that the strength they are relying on is the same one that caused their failure—in other words, themselves. Under-performers do the opposite. Frightened of ever making a mistake again they do their best not to have to perform again. They hide away hoping they can avoid any situation where they might be put to the test. This is precisely what the disciples were doing locked away in the upper room after Jesus’ death. They had decided that they could not risk failure again so they were better to hide from the world. Jesus’ answer to both over and under-performers is the same… ‘Come to me all you who are weary… and I will give you rest.’ The only performance God is interested in is relationship with Him.