Athlete, Mistakes are Beginnings
Matthew 26:34 (NIV)
“Truly, I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
Peter disowned Jesus three times. It was one of the biggest moral failures ever and it happened at a pivotal moment in human history. It was written in one of the best-selling books of all time. (What bad thing have you done that compares to that)?
The good news is that Peter’s failures weren’t the end of him. He could’ve gone out disgraced, like we see so often. But for Peter, it was a new beginning.
Peter was solidified through this. He learned for himself where he wanted his loyalties to lie after that. His lowest moments paid dividends throughout his life, because they were poignant reminders of his values.
Everyone makes mistakes. Look at the scandalous people in Jesus’ lineage, including you and me. It’s clear that God is not into simply making moral machines. He’s into making a people, a family, a kingdom, and new heavens and new earth. (Which, of course, includes morals).
Moral failure has a way of seeming more powerful than it is, maybe because we put each other and ourselves on pedestals. Or maybe because we’re moralists.
Moral failure can be crushing and put us so low we don’t think we’ll ever get up. It colors everything around us. It feels like the world is tethered to our collapse. But it’s not.
Failure in sports feels the same way. You dropped a pass on fourth down. You missed a wide-open goal. You ran the wrong play. Everything is colored. The whole world seems sour. But it’s not.
You may find out for yourself what Peter did — that some of the biggest failures and most undesirable situations lead to necessary reforms. They shape values. They are reminders of the direction we want to go, and avoid.
When you fail morally or athletically, do what Peter did. Sit with your feelings, as uncomfortable as they may be. Notice the temptation to get out from under them and pop up. Notice the draw to your phone.
Stay in the pain, so you can reap failure’s rewards. In a way, the undesirable feelings of failure are gifts, because if we were immune to them, we’d also be immune from the vindication they induce.
Only because Peter let himself hurt, was he able to experience healing. His failing, sitting and weeping bitterly, and standing up on weak legs, is our template for a strong and victorious life.