Saturday, August 08, 2015

i have failed.

Humility and loving honesty are attractive character qualities in the lives of others.  I am drawn to people I can trust to be honest in a loving and tactful manner.  I am especially drawn to people and endeared to leaders who are humble.  In my opinion the two qualities go hand in hand.  I am encouraged and challenged by others who exhibit these qualities authentically.  While I consider myself an honest person, sometimes I’m not so loving in my words or tones. Concerning humility, pride wins out most moments and days of my life.  Pride tends to move like a strong undercurrent, rhythmically lapping to the shore’s surface in my life - in full view of those around me.  Pride takes many forms and rears up in numerous ways in my life.  Can anyone relate? 

One way pride is displayed is in my manner of apology to others.  Even to the Lord sometimes oftentimes.

Shortly after arriving in Zambia, I had several discussions with our gardener Steve about himself, life, living in Zambia and details about our home and grounds.  While I don’t remember the specific contexts, twice early on he was talking about his work or past work and he simply said;

“I have failed.”

I waited…

…For the comma, the “but…,”the “because…”

Nothing more was said.

There was a period at the end of his sentence.

I was stunned.  I was also refreshed by such raw and sincere humility.  

Almost immediately I was convicted.  How many times have I simply said, “I have failed.” to someone else?.. to God?
Often – okay, almost always – my “confessions” if you will go something like this:

“I’m so sorry I didn’t call….” (followed by excuse or my self-justifying reason).
“Forgive me for being late… my kids…” (or some other form of blaming others).

Excuses, blame, down-playing, self-justifying can be common follow ups to my apologies or admission of failures.  Even the word “failed” took me aback.  It’s such a foreign way to express our own shortcomings in the west.  How many times do we hear people say,

“I failed.”  

I’ve come to learn this is a common way to express personal shortcomings here in Zambia and it’s refreshing and personally challenging as it put me face-to-face with my own failure to humbly and simply admit my own failures

  …without excuse or blame.  

Thankfully, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8:1
I live in freedom due to Christ willingly and lovingly paying the penalty, I justly deserved, for my sin.  Ultimately, I am His and justified before Him because of Jesus Christ. 

Because I still have a body of flesh, I am going to sin.  I am going to fail.  I am grateful that in God’s loving plan, when I humbly lay my failures at His feet, His grace meets me there. Deeper still, it’s His grace which brings me to my Savior and He deserves all the glory; Just as Steve’s sincere admission of failure - without excuse, glorified our heavenly Father and ministered to me.

I am grateful that in God’s plan what draws me to Him is His humility; His loving-kindness which leads me to repentance; His graciousness toward me and His merciful forgiveness.


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"Every saved person this side of heaven owes the gospel to every lost person this side of hell." -David Platt, Radical

Jason & Mandy Hensley
2547 CR 6380
West Plains, MO 65775

Email: Zambia@hensleycrew.com
Phone: 417-274-1597 or 417-274-3122

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