If you are human, there will be times in your life when people fail you. There will be times when you will feel isolated, hurt, hopeless, and nights filled with tears. Why? Because people, even christians, aren’t perfect. I think at times it is even more magnified in ministry or any type of leadership position. In church, we expect people to live what they preach or claim to adhere to, but that is often not the case. What do we do when people fail us? How do we survive the pain and grief it brings? These are questions you may be asking now. And, these are questions I have asked myself in the past when it seemed like person after person failed me over and over again. When those who were decades older than me, that I once looked up to, misjudged me, lied about me, attempted to destroy my character, talked down to me, gossiped about me, fell into sin, walked away from the truth, and so on and so forth. I have been through it all, seen it all, and dealt with it wrongly, with bitterness and unforgiveness, and then dealt with it correctly, with forgiveness and a renewed perspective.
“And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You.” – Psalm 39:7 AMPC
This may sound cliché, but you have to learn to stop putting your trust and admiration in people by disproportionate and inappropriate measures. Are there people who we can learn from? Admire? Be inspired by? Be encouraged by? Absolutely. But the problem comes when we fail to see that those people are merely imperfect human beings with flaws. Disillusionment occurs when the veil is stripped away and we seen them as they are, with all their flaws, especially the ones that directly hurt us or cause us to question our faith, our judgement, etc. This phase is where unforgiveness and bitterness can creep in, it’s the perfect environment for those seeds to grow, and grow out of control to where you are crippled by your hurt and don’t even realize it. I’ve been there. Done that. Not proud of it, but I learned something. I learned that inevitably, people WILL fail us. Even the “best”and most “well-meaning” people will fall off of the pedestal we place them on at one point or another and reveal their flaws, cracks, and imperfections. So, how do we avoid this inevitable human failure? How do we keep people from failing us?
We stop putting PEOPLE on pedestals. If someone isn’t placed up high with unrealistic expectations by you, they won’t fail you. The only one who should be exalted in our lives that won’t fail us, ever, is Jesus. Does this mean we cease to care for people or even focus on people? Quite the contrary, when we stop placing people on pedestals and expecting unrealistic “flawlessness” from them, something truly amazing happens… when their flaws are unveiled and even when they lash out at us, our heart is moved with compassion. We hurt, not because they hurt us or inflicted pain on us, but rather in empathy we hurt because THEY are hurting so much that they would do that. We don’t see a person that has failed us, but rather a person that needs us. A person that needs our prayers… needs our love… maybe even our distance… our loving truth… or a listening ear. When we shift our attention and admiration to Jesus, and only Jesus, we shift from people failing us to people moving us. When we shift our focus, we allow forgiveness and love to reign in our lives, not bitterness and unforgiveness. And when we truly do this, I believe we will see fewer church splits, offended ex-churchgoers, divorces, damaged relationships, etc.
“Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.” – Psalm 84:5 AMPC
People can’t fail us if we place our expectations and focus on Jesus, where they belong. Fix your eyes on Him, shift your focus to Him, and you will never be disappointed by Him. When you do this, you’ll be a stronger, healthier, and more joyful vessel for Him to work through!
“Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6 AMPC
People will fail, but Jesus never will!