20/12/2018 - Psalm 103:13-14 ‘As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.’
Let’s face it. You and I are going to make several thousand mistakes between now and when we leave this planet. Why? Because we are human, and humans make mistakes – lots of them.
If we make that our starting point, a lot of pressure will be lifted from our shoulders. For starters, we know that our acceptance by God or those we care about is not dependent on our getting everything right. We can only begin to find peace once we give up on the notion that there is some state in which we can tick all the boxes and find utopia. Peace is to be found in the midst of the mess.
What does a father look for in his child? Imagine valuing each child on the basis of how many things they get right! We recoil at the idea. Wouldn’t you rather have a rascal who gets into all kinds of scrapes yet has that attitude of heart that means you and he have a good connection? Our verse tells us that this is the kind of Father that God is.
God doesn’t seem concerned about his PR image. Jesus appointed Judas to be treasurer to the band of disciples – and he turned out to be a thief. How could that be right – widows would have given money sacrificially, and it was being squandered. Was Jesus not a good judge of character? This was never going to look good. Hardly a positive start to the fledgling movement – especially when Judas later committed suicide. Jesus’ choice wasn’t a mistake, but it looked like one – and it didn’t matter. God is bigger than the sum of all our mistakes.
If we can get away from the treadmill of trying to get everything right, then we can go on a journey of discovering what God really wants. If all our energy is not being poured into trying to establish our own righteousness, then we will have the time to genuinely enjoy God for his own sake and appreciate his company. Instead of a tightness and striving within we will find that capacity to feel the depth and richness of all our relationships. It is good to have ideals – don’t lose them but don’t use them to beat yourself up with. There’s a paradox here; the more you stop trying to tick all the boxes, the more boxes get ticked. The more you relax into trusting and loving the Lord, the more his righteousness will be fulfilled in you. Enjoy him and he will enjoy you.
Click to read Jen's article 'The art of failure' in which she explains the importance of teaching children to learn to make mistakes and learn how to handle not succeeding at something and offers practical suggestions in how to help.