Why was man created fallible?
… so that the power of Christ can live in me …
Mistakes and failures in our private lives aren’t something we like to talk or write about. We don’t like everyone to see and analyze it.
It is as if your mistakes and failures expose your character and can be compared to an art critic looking at a Pierneef artwork with a magnifying glass.
Wrong decisions are made and circumstances don’t always turn out the way we planned. Yet, mistakes and failures show us that we are just human and frail in our faith.
Sometimes life can catch us by surprise. We don’t expect the good times or circumstances to come to an end. Before we take anxious leaps and make the wrong decisions, it is important to stand back and get perspective. I must understand what I am experiencing and where I am in Christ because if I don’t understand that, I might make the wrong decisions.
The following story is about Sir Edwin Landseer.
Fishermen relaxed at an inn located in a small town in Scotland. They were talking loudly, gesturing, and competing about who caught the biggest fish when one of the men accidentally knocked the tray out of the waitress’s hand. A full teapot hit the wall and a brown stain formed on the once clean wall. The innkeeper was dismayed and thought of the costs to clean and paint the wall again. A stranger stood up and offered to look at the damage. With a few pencils, paintbrushes, and paint the brown tea stain transformed into the most beautiful deer. Sir Edwin Landseer was a renowned painter of nature scenes.
In John 4 we read about a remarkable woman, someone whose wrong choices isolated her from the people around her. In those times the wells were usually outside of town. According to customs, the women usually fetched water twice a day, in the morning and at night. I can imagine how they walked to the well in groups, talking about what is happening in each household.
“Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.” (John 4 verse 6)
However, the Samaritan woman went in the middle of the day so that she could avoid the curious eyes and unnecessary chatter that was the norm in the small community they lived in.
When I make mistakes, the mistakes and wrong decisions that are visible to everyone – and let’s be honest here – don’t we usually avoid the places where children of God commune? Then the enemy can isolate us, away from the Shepherd’s voice and the safety of His flock.
“The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)” (John 4 verse 9)
Jesus isn’t worried about the “social differences” between Him and the Samaritan woman. He sees someone made in God’s likeness. In Him, He brings her hope and a new life. Her mistakes are known to him (verse 16). Her sins do not define her but make her a masterpiece in God’s hands, where His love can form her.
Like the Samaritan woman, we must just listen to His voice and be grateful towards Him.
Paul wrote it beautifully in 2 Corinthians 12 verse 9: “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
In John 4 verses 28 to 30, we read the following: “So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” They went out of the town and were coming to Him.”
Jesus took the time and shared His plan of redemption with the Samaritan woman, and like the water jug, she could leave everything at Jesus’ feet and share her testimony with the people around her. She wasn’t isolated anymore; the Lord transformed her loneliness into a bubbling fountain and His living water was now flowing through her to others.
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.” (Psalm 46 verse 5)
This woman immediately went and told everyone about Jesus. We read in John 4 verse 39 that many Samaritans from this city believed in Him through the testimony of this woman.
“And many more believed because of his word. They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world.” (verses 41 & 42)
It is so easy for us to look at each other’s faults and mistakes. Maybe you only see the mistakes other people make. Don’t! Let God form you and those around you through His Spirit. He wants to change us through His Spirit.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3 verse 18)
Like David, ashamed I want to ask the Lord, through my lost way of wrong decisions and exposed character: “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8 verse 4)
If we never fail, how would we know to thankfully testify about the victories? If I never get hurt, how will I have empathy with someone else who is standing frail in his or her faith due to disappointments, wrong decisions, and an exposed character?
We often sing the song, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” Yes, it is too amazing (great) to try and put it in words!
Mistakes, shortcomings, and wrong decisions don’t define who we are. It brings us closer to a Father who puts His arms around us. He formed us and our names are engraved in the palms of His hands! It rather gives us a deep awareness of our total dependency on our Lord and Master.
“I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118 verses 21 & 22)
Johan & Riana de Jager (Wonderboom Congregation) (temp)