Can Failure be Good?

Ecclesiastes 2:11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

Is success the most important thing in life? It depends on how you define success. For some achieving their goals is the definition of success. But they achieve their goals at a steep cost. Some through deception and betrayal or by abandoning their principles and sacrificing their integrity. Others by neglecting family and friends and even abandoning God. They may have achieved their goals but ultimately they are failures. Success can be a form of failure.

King Solomon went on a sinful binge, of sorts. He said, “Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors. But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless, like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere” (Ecclesiastes 2:10–11). He succeeded at everything he did, and it didn’t satisfy him.

We can do worse than fail. We can put success above our relationship with God. We can succeed and worship our accomplishments rather than the One who helped us reach them.

There are times when failure is good because we can learn from our mistakes. And one great lesson is to learn to fail forward. That means after we have done something wrong and have tasted the bitter results of it, we say, “I really don’t want to do that again.” So we put safeguards around our lives, taking precautionary steps so we don’t fall into the same trap. If that is the case, then we have learned something from our failures.

 

David Ball
Pastor