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Permission to Fail

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Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NRSV)

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Permission to Fail

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Failure is a fact of life. We all fail at things on a regular basis because we’re flawed human beings. The question is though, when others fail us, how do we treat them? With the same grace with which God treats us, or with something less than that?

The truth that we all fail from time to time is a powerful one. Sometimes we fail in how we treat others, or we’ll attempt something that doesn’t quite work out as planned. And sometimes – let’s be honest – we fall flat on our face for all to see.

It struck me recently that as a leader, I need to let people know that they have my permission to fail. I want to see them attempt things, be part of things that, unless God shows up, they are indeed going to fail.

And people won’t stretch themselves, they won’t step out into the unknown, they won’t chase down the crazy ideas that God planted in their hearts, if they fear punishment and retribution if they fail. Why would they?

So recently at a team meeting, I made it clear that whilst there’s no place for laziness, dishonesty or a bad attitude, not only do I expect each one of us to fail at some point but that to do so is entirely acceptable. And when people do fail, I’ll be right there with them – on their side.

The permission to fail is the key that unlocks the hearts of the people around us to be all that God’s made them to be – to chase down the crazy ideas He puts in their hearts.

Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (NRSV)

God knows that we’re going to fail, yet He sticks by us anyway. Why wouldn’t we do the same?

That’s His Word. Fresh … for you … today.


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Keisha Harris

Strong word indeed. Failure doesn’t mean to give up, it means to be strong and to look above the failure to make things happen.

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