People do not fail in life because they fail at things but because they fail at learning from their failures. What do you do when you fail at something? Do you sit down, recognize you have failed and critically assess the situation to see where you went wrong and what changes need to be made in you to achieve success the next time, or do you get self defensive and try to put the blame everywhere else rather than at your own door? When you do not confront your shortcomings you will not overcome them and they will trip you up over and over again. As a pastor you will often see where people’s wrong moral choices and character issues have taken them, but will you point it out?
In church people often play defence games. A pastor in their eyes is someone who hugs them and whispers sweet nothings to them even as they dig their own graves. A word of truth about how they got themselves into their predicament or even about behaviour that will lead them into a serious predicament and they huff and puff and say how unloving you are and declare a moratorium on church attendance. An insecure pastor who wants to be loved will simply close their eyes and pretend things are okay, tell people how wonderful they are even as they feast on poisonous fare. And when they fail, they hold their hands and say God is good, he will make it alright the next time, He will not, and so a host of disappointed people with ridiculous expectations exit church yearly.
We must challenge ourselves and allow those in leadership to challenge us to critically assess where we are at and what needs to change, while encouraging us to be more than we think we can be. Sometimes we will feel stretched and imposed upon, we will feel inadequate and not up to the task. Indeed if you have not been brought face to face with the sense of your own inadequacy, you have not had the opportunity to grow. Failure does that. And sometimes it’s a last resort after we have turned a deaf ear to instructions, entreaties, the like; sometimes it’s a bolt out of the blue. What it is not, is final; unless we make it so by refusing to learn. And when we do learn, we have failed to fail no more.