Don’t accept your failures as final

Published 9:27 pm Friday, September 19, 2014

I have enjoyed using my orange credit card over the years at a popular home improvement store, but that convenient resource encountered an eye-opening dilemma recently—not just for me, but for thousands of innocent victims like me.  As I opened up the company’s official web site the other day, there was the alarming message:  “Message to our customers; Update on the payment breach.”

The news is now out that somehow someone gained access to customer information that was supposed to be a secure and safe.  As a result, according to what I read, more than fifty million payment cards are now at risk of being misused.

I have never been one to win a lot of contests, and I have never played the lottery, but with my personal information likely being in that pool of stolen accounts it makes my odds of suffering repercussions from it much higher than I would like.

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Being a winner in a negative sense is not the kind of thing one wants to brag about!

That nationwide company had a tremendous failure that has the potential to do irreparable harm, which presents a big question that cannot be ignored:  What can be done to overcome this event?  While that is a simple question, the answer is surely complex and is not one that can be addressed so simply.  I doubt that the popular orange cards will cease to exist as a result of what has happened, yet I am confident that a lot will be learned from it and surely some changes will be incorporated.

As humans, we all experience failures along life’s way.  Thankfully, we do not have to allow failures to destroy us.  In fact, there is a great deal to be learned during those trying times that we call failures; many of the most impactful lessons of life are gained during times that we perceive as failures.

The Bible is not silent on the failures of prominent individuals who were greatly used by God—both before and after their episodes of failure.  One of those individuals is Peter, a disciple of Christ and an influential person in the early church.

Included in Peter’s list of failures and blunders was his denial of the Lord three times prior to the crucifixion of Christ.

Even though Jesus had warned Peter beforehand that it would happen, Peter could not fathom himself descending to such a low level.  In the midst of his effort of self preservation and after his third denial of Christ, Luke 22:61-62 gives a snapshot of that low point in Peter’s life:  “The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him:  “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly” (New International Version).

If the story ended there it would be a sad one, but it didn’t.  In time the Lord restored Peter to a sincere walk of faith and service, and the decades that followed revealed a man who was genuinely willing to die for the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am convinced that Peter learned many lessons from that painful episode in his life, and among the greatest of them is one we need to remember:  failure does not have to be final.

Even when you fail God miserably, do not remain in a failed state forever; He can restore you and use you.  Just trust Him!