It's Good to Grieve Your Failure
“Immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:74-75, CSB)
When you experience failure, sometimes it feels like you’ll never recover. But you will. Whether you’ve experienced failure in finances, marriage, career, or something else, you can recover.
Recovery starts with grieving your failure. Don’t minimize it or pretend it didn’t happen. Don’t rush to try to feel better. Instead, take the time to feel the pain.
This highlights an important life principle: To get past it, you’ve got to go through it. That’s true in so many areas of life, but it’s particularly true with failure.
Grief is the way to go through the failure. When you fail, you just want to forget it, to stuff your emotions and quickly go to the next thing. But that’s a mistake. Grief is the way you learn failure’s lessons.
When you swallow your emotions instead of going through them, your stomach keeps score. It’s like taking a can of soda, shaking it up, and putting it in the freezer. It’s eventually going to explode!
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, experienced the grief of failure firsthand. In a time of crisis, he denied that he even knew Jesus, and that failure led to deep grief.
The Bible says, “Immediately a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:74-75 CSB).
Imagine how disappointed Peter must have felt. He had walked alongside Jesus, watching him teach, do miracles, heal people, raise the dead, and offer mercy and forgiveness over and over again. Yet the first time he was put to the test about his commitment to Jesus, he denied him three times in a row.
But instead of ignoring his failure, Peter did the right thing: He was humble and regretful. He owned up to his failure and grieved—and that’s the key to healing.
Many people want to take shortcuts when they have a failure. They want to bypass the affair and pretend it didn’t shatter their marriage, so they rebound into another relationship. Or they pretend it was someone else’s fault the business failed and start another one the next day. They simply never learn the lesson.
But there is no shortcut to grieving and recovering from failure. The greater the failure in your life, the more time it’s going to take to heal. Let God work in your heart. You can’t force healing. Recovery is an act of God's mercy, and it will come in time.
Talk It Over
Would you say that you know how to grieve well? Why or why not?
What has been the outcome when you have tried to ignore a failure rather than grieving it?
When you fail, to whom should you admit it? Why is this important?
This devotional © 2022 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.