Sometimes we trip, stumble and fall in life. It happens. We make mistakes, and sometimes we have to live with the consequences. We tend to think of consequences as negative ramifications; however, there is a way to change toward a better future. We may have done a face plant, but we do not have to live with sand or mud on our face, a scarlet letter on our chest, DUI plastered on our forehead, convict proclaimed across our chest, or failure written on our heart.
What if we failed forward?
What if our failures propelled us toward something different? Something that was positive, hopeful, and promising? What if our failures caused us to examine ourselves and make changes? What if our failures moved us toward people and community instead of away from it? What if our failures helped us to learn responsibility, humility, and grace? What if our failures helped us to become a better person, a person who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around us?
Do you know Mike Tyson’s story? He failed. His past is one of poor decisions and behavior. They were not small things done in the privacy of his home or life, but they became nationally publicized actions of wrong behavior in his career (biting an opponent), his personal life (rape and abuse), and his finances. At one time, he was a leader, a role model, and a very famous person. Then a series of mistakes led him spiraling down, down, down, until he hit a very low point in life.
That is not where Mike’s story ends though. Mike held on, and although it took time to show to others, Mike fell forward. Through time, hard work, and a great deal of humility, Mike has started a new life while taking responsibility for his past. He is not running and hiding from what was, but he is believing in what is and what can be.
Mike and I have something in common. Mike’s story may be known to others, while my story is more personal, but the bottom line is we both failed.
There is no easy way through it. Mike’s failure not only hurt him, but it hurt others too. In my story, I was hurt by others and I allowed that hurt to grow inside of me. That hurt led to fear, brokenness, and insecurity. It led to doubts, questions, and lack of trust. It kept me from believing that God could make a difference. My issues did not just hurt me, but they hurt others. I disagreed with and was somewhat rebellious toward someone I truly cared about and respected, damaging that relationship and those of others around us. Even worse, though, I disagreed with and disrespected God.
Besides failure, Mike and I have something else in common. We have chosen to take responsibility for our past, and to allow our failures to motivate us to move toward a different future. There are days I wish I had a story like Mike’s, a story of a moral failure. My story led to being removed from my church with a charge that I was unsubmissive and did not belong in the Body of Christ. Failure can lead to shame, and there is tremendous shame when even in your greatest need you are turned away from the Body of Christ.
I changed, repented, and have overcome the issues from my past; however, I still am walking through the ramifications of putting my life back together. Mike is on that journey too. It is a hard journey, with many, many obstacles, but there is one thing that is helping us, God. Second chances are not always offered by men and women, but God has promised us that if we repent, turn from our past, and believe in him, then we will be forgiven.
I have never met anyone famous. I don’t know if I even want to since there are so many expectations tied to such a meeting.
I think it would be different if I were to meet Mike. He is not just someone famous; you see I know we have something in common. We both sinned. We both have had our lives changed by God and because of that, we are different people. We were given a chance for new life, a life that matters.
I don’t know for certain what Mike believes. Some say he is a Christian. I have heard him testify of his belief in God. What I do know is that Mike has a past, yet he also has a future. He is trying to be a different man, and I would be honored to spend eternity with him as my brother.
We all fall at times, but when we fall forward onto our knees, confessing our sin, repenting of our past, and finding freedom and forgiveness through Christ, we find a very different future.
I have learned that I will fail, but from now on, I will fail….forward. We are never beyond second chances.
This post is a part of the Never Beyond poster series led by People of the Second Chance. This series is asking us to ponder and rethink who we consider beyond a second chance. Please check them out at their website, or on Facebook.