Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme: God's Love for You






















Title:   3. When You Fail & Get It Wrong


  A series that considers some of the basic things that the Bible
says about God's love for us.

1. Introduction

This is the third of a series of pages on how much God loves you.

In the first page we noted that one of God's main characteristics is love.
Everything He does is generated by love, therefore everything He feels about you comes from His love for you.

We also considered the cost to the Father and Son, of being parted to bring about the possibility of your forgiveness for all the wrongs you've ever thought, said or done.

Finally we considered that because of these things, and because the Bible tells us, we know that God is FOR us, completely for us!

In the second page we saw the wonder of God's love as shown to us through Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son, a love that allows us to make our own wrong decisions, yet which yearns for us to come back. 

When it sees us coming, it runs and accepts us back without blame or condemnation.

This page considers what happens when we get it wrong, when we fail, when we sin.



2. Suppose I Fail Again?

The New Testament indicates that Christians, although no longer under the power of Sin, do sometimes still sin.

Consider the following verse:

In 1 Jn 2:1 the apostle John, said he was writing so that we would not sin, but if we did, then Jesus spoke to the Father in our defence.  

This verse tells us a number of things: first John, the writer, expects that we won't sin as Christians, but acknowledges that it is always a possibility.

Having acknowledged the possibility, he then tells us what will happen from God's side - Jesus speaks up for us.

This is where many of us struggle - look it up if you haven't done so yet - Jesus speaks up for us in our defence.

What Jesus Doesn't Do!

Many of us have such a bad view of ourselves and lack a proper understanding of how God feels about us, so at this point we imagine the worst. 

We imagine Jesus, when we've just failed, saying, "Oh no, why did I ever bother with them? I've had enough of them. I'm giving up on them", but that's not what a defence lawyer would say.

So What Does Jesus Say?

We're not told directly but Scripture, inspired by God, does give us a clue.  See what the apostle Paul said about someone who has just failed:

In Gal 6:1 the apostle Paul says that if we catch someone in sin, if we are spiritual we will restore them gently.

Did you see that?  Paul speaks about restoring this person, and restoring them gently!

Jesus shows us God's heart

If we want to know what God is like in His thoughts and feelings towards us, we need to look at Jesus Christ.

Jesus is the image of the God we can't see (Col 1:15) wrote the apostle Paul.

Jesus, speaking of the person who believes in him said that when they look at him they will see the Father. (Jn 12:44,45).  In other words the Bible declares Jesus to be God's Son and therefore, when we see Jesus act, we know that is how God the Father acts. 

So, lets look at three examples of how Jesus dealt with people (you may want to look them up in a Bible).



3. Jesus and the Blind Man

At the beginning of John 9 (John 9:1-3) we find Jesus' followers pointing out a man who had been blind from birth and asking Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind?

Those followers were doing what we so often do, see something going wrong and assume it is punishment. 
Jesus' answer is interesting: It was not a case of who sinned, but a case of taking the opportunity to do good and heal the man.

In other words Jesus refused to condemn this man, but instead basically said, "Let's not worry about his past, let's heal him today" and that's just what he did!

We want to condemn, Jesus wants to heal! 

We want reasons why things happen, Jesus just wants to put them right. 

We worry about the past, Jesus is more concerned to ensure the future is better. 

We assume God comes to judge, Jesus shows He comes to bless.



4. Jesus and an adulterous woman

In John 8:1-11 we find the story of a woman who was an adulteress who was brought before Jesus.

Now in Jesus' time that was very serious and the Law required such a person be stoned to death (it made for a very moral society!).

The people who brought her to Jesus were religious leaders who wanted Jesus to lose some of his popularity with the crowd. If he condemned her he would be seen to be siding with the unpopular religious leaders.

So what does he do? He writes in the sand on the floor!

Why? We're not told, but perhaps he was writing a list of the sins in the lives of those leaders, we don't know.  After he wrote he stood up and invited anyone who was without sin to be the first to throw a stone at her. And then he carried on writing in the sand.

Quietly, one by one, the religious accusers left until only she and Jesus were left.

"Hasn't anyone condemned you," he asked her. "No one, sir," she replied. "Then neither do I ," Jesus declared. Finally he told her to return home and make sure she didn't sin like that again.

Earlier in the Bible we find God saying saying that He takes no pleasure in the death of anyone ( Ezek 18:32 ). Jesus confirms that. God is more concerned in leading people into living good lives than in condemning them for failing.



5. Jesus and Peter's denial

For this you would need to read chapter 21 of John's Gospel, verses 15 to 22.

Peter had been one of Jesus' closest followers, yet when Jesus was arrested a situation arose whereby Peter denied Jesus three times.

In the above passage, Jesus returned after his death and, in one of his resurrection appearances, talked with Peter.  Three times in that passage we find Jesus asking Peter, "Do you love me?" and three times Peter affirms his love for Jesus. Three times Jesus tells Peter to look after his embryonic church.

Does Jesus condemn Peter for his failure? Does he rebuke him? 
No, instead, quite remarkably, he simply allows Peter to reaffirm out loud his love for Jesus as if to wash over his three denials.

Then he basically appoints Peter to be one of the main leaders in his coming church.   This is incredible!     Peter has failed Jesus, as badly as it is possible to fail him, and what does Jesus do?

Makes him a leader!   What is this all about?

It's Jesus who knows our weaknesses but also knows our potential! 
Jesus knew what he could do with Peter. Peter went on to be THE pillar of the early church, the number one leader.

Tradition has it that he too was finally crucified for his faith - upside down because he didn't want to die like his Master. Jesus' expectations of Peter were fully realised.



6. And You?

Are you in any worse position than the blind man?
Is your failure any worse than the woman's? Is it worse than Peter's?

Does Jesus love you any less than these three? You failed in life? Join the human race! Jesus understands that. He loves you with your failure!

Remember the heart of these three illustrations - and there are plenty more in the Gospels - Jesus was more concerned to restore than to condemn.

This is the nature of Jesus' (and God's) love. The apostle Paul was to write, "Love… keeps no record of wrongs" (1 Cor 13:5).

One critical condition

All that we have said is absolutely true - but it applies only to those who have, like the prodigal son of the previous page, come to their senses and gone to Father looking for forgiveness.

What we've been talking about has been the love of God that is there for you - but you have to come to the end of yourself first.  You won't be able to receive and experience that love of God if you keep holding Him at arm's length.

When my children were small  and I saw one of them fall, I wanted to pick them up and put my arms around them, but if they said, "Go away!" they stopped me doing that. 
It's like that with God.   It's very simple and straight forward.

You may never have let God come close because you've always held onto the control of your life.
You may be a Christian who's never understood how much God loves you. 

That can change. Take in again what this page has said about how much He loves you. Dare to believe it.  Receive it.  Live with it.  Allow Him to transform you.