Watching People Fail

Standing back and allowing people to fail is one of the hardest things to do. Especially if you care about that person, so perhaps this is the most painful when it is your children.

Yet, failure is a vital part of learning. Frequently in life, I have gained more helpful information from my mistakes and disappointments than from victories. They have shown me my pride and lack of knowledge more than any other test. While we all hate to fail, we can admit that some failures have been helpful in the long term.

Do you remember the story of Peter denying that he even knew Jesus? It was predicted at the last supper, and Jesus knew it was coming, yet he let it happen anyway. Jesus could have given him a step-by-step guide to avoid this failure, but he only gave him a vague warning.

The Apostle Peter’s failure becomes the stepping stone for him to receive forgiveness through Jesus in John chapter 21. This would then catapult him through the power of the Holy Spirit to preach forgiveness in Jesus’ name into all the world. His mistake became his ministry.

The question that haunts me is, “Am I willing to let people fail?” Am I willing to stand back and let my kids fall flat on their faces? Would I let someone lead a ministry I know is doomed to fail? Do I have enough restraint to stay out of events and not run in and try to fix everything?

Jesus knew that failure could be a great teacher. Sometimes following him means that we need to allow people to grow through pain … even the people we love.


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