We all sin and come short of the glory of God—that’s no surprise to anyone. What distinguishes Jesus followers from the people around them is how they handle the moments when they inevitably fall.
Of course, some disciples handle failure in unhealthy ways just like everyone else: blaming others, covering things up, and lying. We also can project our failures onto others. You may know of someone who preached heavily against divorce, or some other thing, only to find out that they had cheated on their spouse regularly!
But Jesus does equip us to handle our failures in such a way that when we fall, we can actually fall upward instead of down. Forgiveness is where this attitude towards failure begins. We start by knowing that God forgives us for our sins. Then, we allow this forgiveness to convince us to forgive ourselves. After that, we let this forgiveness flow from us to those around us who also are in need of forgiveness.
This lets us learn to own our shortcomings, which helps us to be relatable to those around us. After owning our mistakes, we can look for the lesson in them by allowing the Spirit of God to work through our error to bring us closer to the image of Christ. And then we can take this grace and extend it to others by modeling what falling upwards looks like and offering them non-judgmental counseling when appropriate.
Hiding our struggles and putting on a mask is self-serving. Being transparent about our failures can be a powerful testimony to how God has picked us up again and again. You never know when the thing you regularly struggle with may give someone else the courage to voice their troubles and find help in their brothers and sisters. Confession isn’t an occasion to shame; it’s a chance to fall upwards. – Daniel Rogers