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I see #momfail on social media regularly. We all have those moments when, whether by accident, or through hasty reactions, we fail our children. But what about when we fail our Lord? #Christianfail. What can we do when we damage our witness and fail to set a Christ-like example, especially in our relationships with others?
We probably fail as Christians even more than we fail as moms, but it’s harder to admit. We don’t put it out there for others to laugh at like #momfail. We like everyone to think we always react in a godly way and represent Christ well, especially in public.
Though my situation was not a “big deal,” this is not an easy post for me to share, but this is just one of the times when I must say #Christianfail.
But, . . . thank God for grace!
Unnecessary or redundant paperwork is one of my pet peeves. I’m not sure if it is because I have so many other things I could be doing with my time, or if it is just a symptom of laziness. I cannot stand filling out the same information that an office already has in their computer system and files. I am so thankful for those who just allow me to initial as correct or update a printout of my information.
Some offices require people to complete forms yearly. Though that doesn’t sound like much, when you multiply 2-4 pages by 3 or 4 kids, it mentally exhausts me! (Usually, I try to combine dental and medical checkups with at least 3 kids at a time. Otherwise, as a family with seven kids, we would be in the doctor or dentist office every month.)
On a previous visit to a particular office, I had complained a little about the paperwork, but at the following visit I “couldn’t” take it anymore. The office worker said “they” require new paperwork every calendar year. Even if I had been in recently, once January came, I must fill it out again. I audaciously wanted to know who the “they” were that required this unnecessary effort on my part.
When I sat down to fill out the papers, the owner, who had overheard the conversation, walked in. She was livid.
Apparently, my words sounded much more offensive than I intended, but isn’t that usually the case?
Christians are hypocrites.
So many times those who are not Christians talk about the hypocritical nature of those who claim to follow Jesus. It’s no secret: Christians do not always act like Christ.
Maybe if we as Christians admit our mistakes (sins), followed by #Christianfail, rather than a cause for a laugh or SMH, other believers will pray for us and learn from our failures. Maybe Christians will realize they are not alone in their struggles, and unbelievers will know we are real people and not “holier than thou” types who look down on sinners.
I am not a Christian because I am a good person.
On the contrary, I am a Christian because I am NOT a good person.I am not a Christian because I am a good person. On the contrary, I am a Christian because I am NOT a good person.Click To Tweet
I am selfish. I speak before I think. I get it wrong– a lot.
I sin. That’s why I need Jesus and His grace.
Jesus never sinned. So He alone could be the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for my sins. Through repentance and faith in Jesus, I, an undeserving sinner, receive forgiveness. Not once, but every time I ask. (1 John 1:9)
This is why Christianity is different from other religions. Every other religion in some way depends on working hard to be good enough. Christianity recognizes no one can be good enough because no one is perfect.
If you want to know more about being a Christian, please read Know Jesus, Share Jesus.
I immediately regretted my words in the office. I blamed my attitude partly on the emotions of being “paper pregnant” and sick of all the adoption paperwork with the endless waiting, but no excuse is a good excuse for rude, unChrist-like behavior.
So what did I do?
First, I asked God’s forgiveness. Then, I wrote the owner a note of apology and asked her to share it with the office workers. Finally, I went in person to make sure they received the note and asked for forgiveness. I told them that because I am Christian I needed to do what I could to make things right. Thankfully, they readily extended forgiveness, and we restored the good relationship we’d had for over ten years.
So what can you do when you experience a #christianfail? This story may seem like a minor fail, but the principle is the same no matter what the sin, especially when your failure is public and may hurt your Christian witness.
What To Do When You Fail Jesus
- Repent & ask God’s forgiveness. (All sin is against Him.)
- Apologize to the person(s) involved.
- Ask for forgiveness. Don’t stop with an apology. Have the humility to ask the person(s) to forgive you.
- Make restitution and work to rebuild trust if it fits the situation.
- Graciously accept forgiveness with gratitude.
- Respond humbly if forgiveness is not granted.
Although many say God sees no “big” or “little” sins, sin does have a widely varying realm of consequences. In this situation, I embarrassed myself and negatively impacted my relationship with people I see several times a year. Though a “little” thing, I had to try to make it right.
But what about the times when sin is a really big deal?
A moral failure that embarrasses your family.
Sometimes our #christianfail hurts many people.
Is grace still enough?
Yes, yes, yes!
The restoration with others may be much harder, but 1 John 1:9 assures us that God is faithful to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. And that is good news.
A word of caution
I want #christianfail to point to the grace of God in our lives, and not be a post for bragging about our sins. Recently, this slogan has become popular on t-shirts and coffee mugs: “I love Jesus, but I cuss a little.” This statement gives the impression of a whispering snicker or even sense of pride that both things are present in a person.
As I admitted before, I sin; however, I hate my sin. The Holy Spirit convicts me and I am not satisfied living in or with my sin. Our goal as Christians is to be Christ-like. Though we will not attain it here on earth, we keep pressing on toward the goal. (Philippians 3:12-16)I sin; however, I hate my sin. The Holy Spirit convicts me and I am not satisfied living in or with my sin.Click To Tweet
An older Christian song by Bob Carlisle repeats, “We fall down, we get up. We fall down, we get up. We fall down, we get up. And the saints are just the sinners who fall down and get up.”
If we are happy or even prideful just wallowing in our sin, something is very wrong in our relationship with God. As my husband/pastor often says, “Our God is too big to come into a life and not make a difference.”
Let your #christianfail be a springboard for pointing to God’s grace and encouraging others who fall to get up and keep going in their walk with Christ. When you face and share a #christianfail, be sure to connect it to God’s work of restoration in your life.
I fail Jesus everyday. Thank God for His forgiveness and grace. Remember, Christian friends, Jesus is our advocate with the Father when we sin (1 John 1:2-6), but we must constantly pursue holiness. And one day, we will be like Him!
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:2 NASB
How has God restored you after a failure? What did He teach you that may help others? Comment with your #christianfail story that highlights God’s grace.