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The Grace of Failure
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At some point in life most people feel they’ve failed in some way. I must admit, as an adult, the area where I feel the most conviction is being a father. Not so much because I don’t try, but more because I wonder whether I’m honoring God. Secondly, I wonder whether I’m raising my children according to His will allowing them to be who He wants them to be and not who I want them to be.

As I researched the word “failure” I found the definitions varied almost as much as the amount of experts out there. More interestingly, I learned the word shares the same Greek root word for “fallow,” “fall”, “false,” and “pale.” Lastly, I found the word was also closely related to “delinquency” and “felony.”

I recently heard a startling statistic, depending on which study you use, the numbers vary slightly, but the figures all portray grim numbers. According to one, the “Index of Leading Cultural Indicators,” 80 percent of all prison inmates come from single-parent homes, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teen pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent substance/chemical abuse, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children.


Shocking, isn’t it? Fortunately, God is always willing to reach in and save anyone from those statistics. My brothers and I were raised by a single mother, and providentially I didn’t succumb to those statistics. And, as I compare my life to those of my own children, I realize that Satan not only tries to destroy adult lives, he starts destroying lives when children are young. As a father, I choose to remain in my children’s lives and not leave them on “fallow” ground. Most of all I need to trust God, follow His counsel, and not dwell on my inadequacies.

Providentially, long before we were born God committed Himself to working with failures, and in that process, He brings glory to Himself. By His grace, He accomplishes what is for the good of all His children who call on His name.

So, if you are a parent, teach your children right (Proverbs 22:6), but also allow them their failures. When they do fail, because they most certainly will, show grace, deal lovingly and gently with them just as God does with us.

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By Daniel LaFlair. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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