“The key to winning consistently is learning to fail successfully.”

How would you respond to a group of fellow workers if you were their leader and you poured your life into them, teaching them all you know for three and a half years, only to have them abandon you when troubles shows up?

What would you say to them when you saw them for the first after they had deserted you? Perhaps you might scold them. Perhaps you might cite each one’s offense. At the least, you might shame them for their lack of faithfulness and courage.

After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He appeared to the disciples. His first words to them were, “Peace be with you!” The word grace means “unmerited favor.” When someone loves you unconditionally, without regard to your behavior in return, it becomes a powerful force in your life, especially during times of failure.

Such was the case for the disciples when Jesus appeared on the shore fixing breakfast after they had all fled. I’m sure they were expecting a reprimand. Instead, they received unconditional love and acceptance. He was overjoyed to see them. He said, “Let’s eat.”

Jesus understood that the disciples needed to fail Him as part of their training. It would be this failure that became their greatest motivation for service.

Most failures occur when we stretch ourselves beyond our God-given calling and/or healthy limits. Maybe we have too much on our plate. Maybe we’re chasing people and ambition instead of chasing Jesus.

Failure allowed the disciples to experience incredible grace for the very first time. Grace would transform them as human beings. Have you experienced this grace in your life? Have you extended grace to those who have wronged you or don’t live up to your standards?

Can you let go of your “failures?” Can you walk in a spirit of forgiveness toward others who have failed? The hardest person you will ever have to forgive for failing is yourself. The measure of grace you extend to yourself is the same measure you will extend to others who have failed, especially those who have failed you.

When we were children, we didn’t have a fear of messing up. In fact, that’s how we learned to walk, to eat independently, to talk, and to learn. We fell down, got food on the floor, spoke gibberish and messed up our colors before perfecting all those activities.

Yet, it was only by learning from our mistakes that we were able to perfect our skills. As children, we played freely, tried new things, and let our creativity run wild. We were inventors, innovators, and discoverers. Yet, somewhere along the way we became afraid of making mistakes, that’s when our development stopped.

The grace you extend to others will change their lives, and yours. “The righteous man falls seven times, but he rises again.” Proverbs 24:16. The only difference between a winner and a loser is the winner gets up one more time. Because you failed does not make you a failure, staying down does.