Thursday, February 5, 2009

Crowing Over Failure

January 25, 2009

Based on Luke 22:54-62

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."

But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them.”

"Man, I am not!" Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."

Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!”

Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Crowing over failure. Peter certainly was not crowing over failure at this particular moment. Failure was crowing over Peter.

Perhaps you know the rest of the story. Perhaps you know that Jesus restores Peter, perhaps you know the patterns of Peter’s life, perhaps you know his successes as well as his failures, perhaps you know how God used him.

Perhaps, though, you (or someone you know) are struggling with the word failure, like Peter was at that moment. When knowing that he had just let down his best friend, his God, and all of his other friends, was the overwhelming reality of his life. And he wept. Bitterly.

Some people shrug off failure like the proverbial water on a duck’s back. Others allow it to define them…or others. They seem to want to live in the failure, to be perpetual screw-ups, reliving the moment(s) of their failure, forcing others to relive failure, bowing down before failure as if it is the only thing that matters, as if failure is God’s last word to us.

For those of who don’t live in rural settings, the image of crowing over something relates more to Peter Pan than to roosters. We think of crowing over something as boastful, arrogant, brash, a mark of immaturity.

Yet Jeff painted an incredible picture of Jesus redeeming even the rooster’s crow in Peter’s life, infusing that daily sound with grace, replacing memories of failure with memories of restoration, renewed hope, and purpose, as a way of reminding Peter that each new day is a new opportunity to live for God. A picture for us of how Jesus wants to restore even the very reminders of our failures.


Where have you failed?

Have you faced the reality of your failure, as Peter did? Owning responsibility for our behavior, for our failures, opens the door to forgiveness. (Luke 22:52-64)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9

Have you spent time with Jesus, reconciling your relationship with Him? (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 21)

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
—Psalm 103:11-13

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.—Hebrews 4:15, 16

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.—Revelations 3:20

Have you been reconciled to those who were impacted by your actions? Are there steps you need to take to be reconciled with others who have been wounded by your failure? (Peter reconnected with the other disciples. See John 20 and 21.)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God….Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”—Matthew 5:9, 23, 24

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.—James 5:16

Are you ready? Ready to move on? Ready for God to redeem your failures? To restore your life? To recast even the memory of your failure?

"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.”
—Isaiah 43:18, 19

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
—Lamentations 3:22, 23

Are you willing to offer the same forgiveness, reconciliation, human encouragement, restoration, and hope to others who have failed?

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”—Matthew 18:21, 22

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."—Mark 11:25

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.—Philippians 2:1-4

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