Friday, 14 February 2014

Forgiven For Failing

God calls us to be active - to engage in stuff.  Sometimes we are wary of that because we are scared of getting it wrong.  It is as though we think that it is better to do nothing than to do it wrong.  Actually, I think that to be getting it wrong.  The great characters, on the whole, got it wrong sometimes.  Noah was tripped up by alcohol.  David was tripped up by sex.  Moses lacked faith.  The twelve all failed to stand beside Jesus at the point when he most needed them.  However, all of these also did many good and great things.  In Paul's words, they were "partners working together for God" (1 Corinthians 3:9).

We will get it wrong sometimes, but that really ought not prevent us from trying.  I have been reading through Matthew 5 this week and reflecting on that chapter with the help of comments provided by Malcolm Carroll (in "Fresh from the Word", ed. Nathan Eddy, IBRA, 2013).  I was really struck by the suggestion he made for "further thought" with respect to verses 17 to 20 - "Not doing wrong is the righteousness of the coward.  Far better to fail, and ask for forgiveness."

Living a Gospel life means taking risks.  It means making oneself vulnerable.  Sometimes that will mean failing.  How good that God does forgive failings - but perhaps the greater forgiveness is needed when we haven't even tried. 

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