You may know a little about Thomas Edison. He was a great inventor who lived about a hundred years ago. He invented the electric light bulb, the record player, motion pictures, and about a bazillion other things (actually, the number was 1,093 patented inventions).
One of the things he worked long and hard at inventing was a new type of battery. He experimented with different chemicals, metals, and designs, first trying one thing and then another. Some worked better and some worked worse, but for a long time he was unable to come up with the results he needed.
A friend once came to see Edison when he was working on the battery. Edison remarked that after ten thousand experiments he was still not satisfied.
"What?" his friend asked, astonished. "Ten thousand failures?"
"Why, I have not failed," Edison responded. "I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work."
Edison's friend made the mistake of confusing an unfinished experiment with a failure. But Edison knew better.
We make a similar mistake sometimes when we confuse failures and sins. God doesn't expect us to go through life without failing. He knows we're going to try and fail many times (maybe even ten thousand times!). You may have failed the first ten times you tried to ride a bike without training wheels, but you didn't give up, did you?
God doesn't mind when we fail, unless our failures are also sins. You see, a sin is a choice to do something our own way rather than God's way. Sinning means failing to do right when we know what's right; in other words, failing to obey God.
So don't be afraid to fail. All of us do it. Some of us have even failed ten thousand times! Just make sure to choose God's way the right way instead of your own way, and he will turn even your failures into something good!
REFLECT: what's the difference between a sin and a failure? Are sins always failures? Are failures always sins? Can you think of a time when you failed but did not sin? Carry a small battery in your pocket today to remind you that the only failure you need to fear is failing to follow God.
PRAY: "God, nobody likes to fail, but help me to remember that failing or making a mistake isn't always a sin. And help me not to fail to do right when I know what's right."