Archive for April 22nd, 2010

Mistakes and Failures

Mistakes and failures.  They plague our lives.  We can’t go 24 hours without making some sort of gaff, slip of the tongue, or outright betrayal.  We’re human; therefore we often fall short, failing others and ourselves.

But what do we do with our mistakes once they are made?  Do we learn from them, seek reparation, and move forward?  Or do we dwell in them, linger over them, replay them, and suffer through them again and again and again?  Do we allow our mistakes and failures to define us?  Or do we arise from failure’s constrictions in order to follow a higher, nobler path?

At the beginning of John 21 Peter appears to be a mess.  He doesn’t know what to do with himself so he decides to go fishing, at night, without any clothes.  Now I’m no sailor, but going out on a small boat at night sounds pretty scary to me.   Naked night fishing sounds even scarier.  But maybe that scary, dark, naked place feels good to Peter.  Maybe that scary, dark, naked place resonates with Peter because that’s how he feels inside.  The last thing Peter did while Jesus was still alive was betray him.  Peter betrayed Jesus around a hot charcoal fire not once, not twice, but three times.  And it wasn’t until the cock crowed that Peter realized what he had done.  It wasn’t until the cock crowed that Peter realized he had made a mistake….a big mistake.

Think about it.  You’ve been in Peter’s shoes.  You know what it’s like to realize you’ve just made a huge mistake.  Your face gets instantly hot.  Your palms sweat.  Your breathing gets rapid and your heart thunders in your chest.  What was I thinking?  You say to yourself.  But the problem was you weren’t thinking.  And now the consequences of your mistake are messing with you physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

But then along comes Jesus waving to Peter and calling to him from the shore, beckoning him to get his naked butt off the boat and back where he was always meant to be, in the presence of his Lord.  Jesus offers Peter a way out of the mess.  Jesus offers Peter a way out of his mistake and his failure.  He meets him on the beach with another hot charcoal fire and another chance.  Don’t let your mistakes define you.  Jesus seems to be saying.  Don’t let your failures fill your life.  Follow me.  Not your mistakes.  Feed my sheep.  Not your sense of failure.

May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my mind and the feelings of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my Rock and  my Redeemer.  Amen.

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