What are your shortfalls?

Our past failures and shortcomings can be an impediment to being considered useful, relevant or even worth a second chance. Have you been disqualified because you failed miserably in your past? All the good we can do, can be trumped by one wrong decision, failed attempts, or poor choices. Maybe, we are our worst critics, sizing ourselves up by our limitations. We believe that others see us through our own lens, as a nonentity. So, we weasel out of being part of anything significant.  

“By our own imperfect standards we judge ourselves.”

10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11 So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? 12 Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” 13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send. (Exodus 4)”

We live in a world where people expect better of us, than they do themselves. What qualifies an imperfect person to qualify another? By our own imperfect standards we judge ourselves.  We need to stop allowing low self-esteem, and other’s opinions of our past failures and weaknesses to define us. All our lives have meaning; they should not be summed up by critics who want to write the end of our story.

“The only gold standard is God’s standard.”

4 Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand (Romans 14).

It’s vital that we acknowledge our current position in this race of life. If we have failed those we care about, we must first admit that. It’s not so much about meeting people’s standards, because they have no perfect ones for themselves, either. The only gold standard is God’s standard. So what’s the best starting point? Repentance. Until we see how far we have fallen short of God’s will, we can’t seek true reconciliation with others. We will need to stand on neutral ground where we take our focus off ourselves and others, and go prostrate to God for mercy. Only, He is perfect and is the best gauge to measure by.

‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I am merciful,’ says the LORD;‘ I will not remain angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against the LORD your God. And have scattered your charms, to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the LORD (Jeremiah 3:12-13).

“While others see failure, God sees victors.”

Once we receive God’s mercy, we are justified to go forward. Moving on will require that we make things right with others. They may not think we are deserving of their mercy. Yet, we are in good standing, because we have been made right with God. 

7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham (Luke 19)”.

God has great purpose for those who aren’t accepted by others, and those who believe they aren’t good enough. He’s in the business of restoring the broken, and making them useful for His purpose. While others see failure, God sees victors.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy (1 Peter 2).

Those who understand how weak they are, don’t depend on their abilities. They are pliable in God’s hands. They are humbled by how much they are wanting and are fully dependent on Him. They have more zeal to live up to their calling, because they have been considered.

9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed (1 Corinthians 15).

From Abraham, Moses, Gideon, David, Jeremiah, Jonah to Paul, these have had the greatest impact on generations, because they depended entirely on God, and still with great opposition. They lacked the world’s qualifications to turn their world upside down. What are your dis-qualifiers? You are in good company, for greater purpose.

6 For the Lord has called you, like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused,” says your God. 7 “For a mere moment I have forsaken you. But with great mercies I will gather you. 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer (Isaiah 54).

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