Failing Forward

“On the one hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing fails like success.
On the other hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing succeeds like failure.”

Os Guiness

One of the most difficult people to get along with is someone who has primarily known success in life and little failure. Such a person can easily be arrogant and find it difficult to be patient with others. I have long thought that the best school teachers are those who struggled some in school themselves, not the brilliant wiz kids who could ace classes without much study. In other words, the average student can make a better-than-average teacher of average students! I can’t prove it, but I bet you can see what I mean.

Sure, I’d rather succeed than fail, who wouldn’t? I’m not a masochist. But the reality is that we often learn more lessons through failure than success. Failure also seems to build character more than does success.

Yes, success is often overrated and failure underrated.  I can just imagine a senior demon telling a junior demon, “The way to really mess people up is to let them succeed time and time again; they will become prideful and arrogant and will have little need for God. However, don’t let them fail very often; they will become humble and turn to God.”

It’s not that we should aim for failure because it’s so good for us. It’s just that most of us fail often enough that to be able to fail forward would put us at a great advantage! It’s possible, when we realize that God is so great that He can help us fail successfully. The psalmist declared, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” (Psalm 71:20)

“On the one hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing fails like success.
On the other hand, in matters of the spirit, nothing succeeds like failure.”

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