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by Romney Ruder


It is interesting how this word has been used over the course of time. Commentators use the word to describe Kevin Durant’s basketball jump shot. Jewelers use the term to help drive up the price of precious gems. Even weather forecasters refer to the looming storm systems with this word.

It seems that, in our world, we are always striving to achieve perfection.

As Christians, we know and believe that perfection has only been in the life and work of Jesus Christ. While we strive every day to be more like Him, we recognize that we can never be Him, due to our own humanness. Yet, sometimes, we let the notion of perfection keep us from achieving all that we were called to be. In our efforts to try and reach perfection, we are less likely to take risks, afraid that we might blemish our perfect score, evaluation, or review.

Because of our fears of failure, we may steer away from the road less traveled and keep driving along the road we are familiar with. Yet this is not biblical.

In the parable of the talents, the servant that buries his money for fear of risk is punished. To see a better example of “failing forward,” one can look at the way that Christ led his disciples. Time after time, they said the wrong thing, acted the wrong way, or misunderstood what was taking place around them. This was not by chance. Jesus was using each of these situations to coach and train His disciples.

My favorite saying is “If you always do what you have always done, then you always get what you have always got.”  It is a longer way of saying, “Stupidity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.”

For some reason, society has engrained in us that failure is something that should be avoided. While failure is nothing we should want to strive for, failure is something from which we can learn.

This year, as you ponder about your personal goals, why not set a couple that you will put you in the place for potential failure?  This year, all of us are going to fall off the bike at one time or another. Instead of taking a worldly view and looking at how far we are from perfection, let us use this information to drive us forward and learn.

How might you “fail forward”?  How might you use your failed experiences as lessons from which you can learn?  Christ utilized failure as a training tool for his disciples. We should take confidence that He would expect the same from us.


Romney Ruder, Vice President, Chief Operating Officer, and urban missionary with World Impact, has a passion for Christ and for people to know Him.  In his roles, Romney seeks every day to see churches planted and urban leaders developed throughout our nation.


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