In the business world it has become popular to talk about the need for failure. While it is true that most people don’t succeed in their first attempt, the drive to normalize failure seems to have turned into a celebration of it. Innovation doesn’t flourish when people feel like defeat is permanent. However it one thing to recognize that losses can be regained; it is another thing entirely to not care whether you win or lose to begin with.
I was thinking about this recently after a chat with one of my kids. A mistake had been made, the apologies were profuse, and forgiveness abundant. However as I consoled the offender, I never said it was o.k. Because it wasn’t. A violation of Scripture had occurred and I never want to give my children the impression that this is o.k. We accept that they will occur, but our goal is always that they won’t.
And I think that’s an important distinction. We should recognize that we are sinful creatures and that, this side of Heaven, we are going to continue to sin. But we should also acknowledge that God’s desire is for His children to be increasingly more like His Son. Just like I think it’s wrong for consultants to talk like all businesses should “fail forward,” we shouldn’t get to a place where we are o.k. with sin because we recognize that God, in His graciousness, can even use evil to produce good. As children who love our Heavenly Father our desire should be to please Him. And part of what that means is that we consistently aim to do what He says, even while recognizing that we won’t always do so.
In other words, don’t waste the mistakes you’ll make. Learn from them, grow from them, and let them fuel your desire to do better. But let’s make sure our heart’s cry is that we won’t make them in the first place.