After game 6 of the eastern conference finals when his Cleveland Cavaliers had just been knocked out of the playoffs Lebron James left the court without shaking hands with any of the Orlando Magic players. Not even his Olympic team friend Dwight Howard. Then he skipped his post game press conference.
So on all the Monday sports talk shows he was roundly criticized for that behavior. Some said that it was simply unsportsmanlike behavior. Others said that it was poor leadership, that if he is going to be the face and leader of that that team he cannot leave his teammates hanging like that. But the criticism that stuck out to me was when one analyst said that we are not judged by how we respond to victory but rather in how we respond to failure. I found this to be terribly profound in a way that transcends the sports world.
As Christians we begin the Christian life acknowledging that we are failures and we need God to come and save us because we cannot do it ourselves. But we then we often struggle with subsequent failure. So how are we to respond to our times of failure.
I think first this means repentance. When we blow it in an area of sin we must immediately renew our repentance. We confess our sin, plead the blood of Christ, and begin fighting sin again. But also I think we must make these teaching moments. What exactly did I do wrong, what could have been done to change the outcome, how can I do better next time? We must learn from our mistakes. This is part of God’s promise to bring good out of all things, if we respond better to trials next time because we learned from failure this time, then certainly God has brought good out of it. So let us learn from our mistakes.