How we can live a successful life after big mistakes or failures
Today’s article is slightly different.
It is not in direct relation with family …. However, it has everything to do with family, education, mariage and personal growth. Simply because a peaceful, happy and healthy family has less to do with what we do – then of whom we are. Our ways to deal with lives situation make an immense difference of the atmosphere in a family, of our capacity to reach out to our children and the happiness of a marriage.
I strongly see our family as fruit of who we are, and what we experienced and understood in the area of failure, mistakes and weaknesses.
Most people who are truly successful in life, people that are real, happy and thankful, have their story to tell. Stories of failure, stories of big mistakes they did, of unwise decisions and sinful actions. When you look at them, you can’t see anything of that in their life anymore. There is not even a glimpse of sadness, bitterness, pain or shame that determines their lives. Instead there is an aura of glory and splendor.
When you talk with these people about their lives, they have one thing in common:
They all have experienced a God who forgives, a God who restores, a God who turns situations around into which they put themselves and in which they were trapped. You can see that God obviously has been making something beautiful out of it.
I have my own stories to tell.
I could tell you about all the painful situations I brought myself into, all the mistakes I made, about the People I hurt, the unwise decisions I took – I think almost everyone can relate.
The amazing fact in this reality is: God is not afraid of our humanity. He knows what we are made of. He knows the depth of our souls. He is more than ready to save us from wherever we call Him.
We see it many times in the bible.
One of these stories is the one from king David. There is that story where he saw a beautiful woman from the roof of his palace.He was the king; therefore he let her come to him, and basically raped her. As she got pregnant, he wanted to cover his act and finally sent her husband to the frontline of the heaviest fighting so that her husband might get killed.
The baby Bathseba gave birth to got very sick and died, just as the prophet Nathan told David when he came to visit him and told him that God did see what he did. David repented wholeheartedly. But the baby still died.
Now comes the amazing part of the story:
When the baby died, “David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went to her and lay with her; and she bore a son, and she called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved the child; He sent a message by the hand of Nathan the prophet, and Nathan called the boy’s [special] name Jedidiah [beloved of the Lord], because the Lord loved the child.( 2. Samuel 12 v 24)
What struck me in that story is this:
God loved the child, even though it was the child from Bathseba, the child from this same woman David wronged so terribly. That fact did not hinder God to love that child. It didn’t hinder Him to send Prophet Nathan to David again, telling him specifically about it.
We can see in the Bible that Salomon became the next King of Israel, the wisest King that ever existed.
We can observe the same thing in the story of Peter, when he denied Jesus.
Peter was the one telling Jesus that he would stick with him in everything, that he would never fail him:
“Peter declared to Him, Though they all are offended and stumble and fall away because of You [and distrust and desert You], I will never do so. (Mat.26.33)
A few verses forward he repeats himself:
“Peter said to Him, Even if I must die with You, I will not deny or disown You! “ ( Mat. 26.35 )
We know from the Bible that in the same chapter he denied to even know Jesus – and he did this three times shortly after they captured Jesus.:
“Peter began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, I do not even know the Man!” (Mat. 26.47 )
We know that Peter later became an apostle, a servant of God to imitate. He is the writer of two books of the New Testament.
There are many more stories in the Bible from men and women like this:
Men and women who failed, made great mistakes, wronged other people and experienced painful situations they brought themselves into.
But I know that if we would be able to sit together with these men and women and talk about their lives, they would radiate the love of God, HIS mercy and tell you about the future they had because of this amazing God.
Then we see a different story, with a man who sinned, but in my opinion what he did was not as terrible as what David did (raping a woman, killing her husband to cover up what he did) or Peter (telling his friend to always stay with him, never leave him unto death… and then deny him only a few hours later. )
In Matthew 26:47-50 we read:
As He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve [apostles], came up, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, The One I shall kiss is the Man; seize Him.
And he came up to Jesus at once and said, Hail (greetings, good health to You, long life to You), Master! And he embraced Him and kissed Him with pretended warmth and devotion.
Jesus said to him, Friend, for what are you here? Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and arrested Him.
Well, Judas never promised Jesus anything. He never told him that he would be with him in everything. What he did was wrong, yes. But let’s see how the story of Judas ended:
Judas went to the chief priest and wanted to give the money back which he received by betraying Jesus:
When Judas, His betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was gripped with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” They replied, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And throwing the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary, he left; and went away and hanged himself. (Mat.27. 3-5)
His life was over. He hung himself.
How many times do we “hang ourselves” after having done big mistakes? How many times do we “end” our lives – most of us not by killing ourselves but by living a life in shame and pain, remembering every day what we did, unable to enter into something new, something beautiful, all with a certainty that this is what we deserve?!
So what is the difference between Judas – and Peter and David?
Why was death the end for Judas while Peter and David continued to have a successful life?
As we’ve seen, it is not because of the level of the wrongdoings each person did.
Studying the scripture I realized that Judas didn’t do the one thing the others did: He never repented. He was sorry, yes. But he was sorry about himself. He felt a deep remorse. He felt “poor me! What did I do!”
The attitude of Peter and David was very different.
They realized that they had hurt others. They realized they had saddened the heart of God. They realized that what they did was wrong. But then they not only felt sorry, they repented wholeheartedly.
And God saw that. He restored them. He provided an amazing future full of hope for them.
Jeremiah 29.11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
That’s our God.