As some of you might have noticed, I did not blog yesterday. During today I thought about the blog and how I can’t get the time back and go and do it. In an extreme sense I was thinking about failure. I was reminded of the quote, “failure doesn’t reflect your character, but it reveals it”. I have always pondered with that quote and unsure of its validity. Today I realized that in a lot of ways it doesn’t matter that you failed (depending on what and how you failed, there will be consequences) but what you do in response to it. Generally I think that people are willing to overlook an offense or failure the first time. However, it is how you respond to the situation in the future that will be the determiner. People don’t always remember how you started, but they remember how you finish. It is good to start again. Overcome pride, self pity, jealousy, bitterness and other sinful thoughts and pick up where you left off. Start again. Keep calm and carry on.
Many times, the consequence comes not at the beginning of the action but the end. How you finish is important. How you start will ususally determine how you finish as well. Cops don’t care when you started speeding, they care that you were speeding. Friends don’t remember when you borrowed their shirt, they just know you haven’t given it back. Many people, including myself, are excellent starters and poor finishers. We start a task with huge ambition ideas and energy and we get to one obstacle and the whole thing comes unraveled, it gets hard and we quit.
In our Spiritual lives we will sin. We do sin. We are constantly fighting sin. Identify it. Put it off. And put on an appropriate heart attitude. 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” and is a good reminder to stick with it. Be one of us, continue on. Choose the better. Choose the one that proves your character the best and the most. Make the choice that puts Christ on display and gives Him the credit. Success can only come when you choose to finish. Don’t see how close you can get to the line of failure, see how close you can get to the line of success.
This is a random illustration that might put it into perspective. One time I was challenged to break a piece of wood in half with just my hands. Seriously this is a true story. It was about an inch and a half thick and 12×12. Not being a big karate person or super strong I was a bit challenged. Someone help the board up for me and I went for it… and didn’t break it. Then someone whispered in my ear, “You have to aim past the board” and they were absolutely right. I tried again and it split. When we are in the midst of a trial we usually only see the issue at hand and we don’t have any perspective, only seeing our failure right in front of us. Sometimes, just knowing what comes next is enough to carry on to success. Aim for the end goal. Work through a rough relationship because the end goal is reconciliation and unity. Keep studying for the test because the end goal is a degree. Work hard because the end goal is a pay check. Work hard at your marriage, because the end goal is a God-honoring family. We will fail. But get back up.
Fight the good fight. Get up. Carry on. Don’t wallow in the fact that you failed. Rejoice that you started again.