By Francis J. Kong
For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. – Proverbs 24:16
“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” This is what the Bible says.
Have you heard the phrase, “You cannot keep a good man down”?
Now let’s look at the practicality of this.
In his book, `Peak Performers,’ Dr. Charles Garfield describes how the astronauts keep their spacecraft on course.
“On their flights between earth and the moon, it was said, the Apollo ships were off course much of the time. In each instance, the spacecraft would wander off its path and the crew would correct—wander of and correct, again and again. And do you know what? It didn’t matter. What mattered were the results.
They got to the moon. They got home. They did it by having the discipline and knowledge to get themselves back on course. They followed not a perfect path, but a critical path.
Whether we’re shooting for the moon, seeking to achieve a better personal or family life, or seeking to obey and serve God, whatever our goals, the principle is the same. There are always unpredictable and unexpected events that call for change and adjustment. Although the astronauts had to be precise in their calculations, they still allowed for mistakes and corrections. The person who doesn’t allow for such adjustments will probably not reach his or her goals. As Charles Garfield explained, the “critical path” is the way to reach any target.
For the Christian, our goal is to obey and serve God and to go on to maturity. We will stumble at times, make mistakes, fail, and hit many a bump in the road. When we fall, however, the important thing is the critical path—to get up, correct our course and go on. And as one author reminds us, “The bumps are what we climb on!”
This is why Grace is so important. I like the bumper sticker that says: “Christians are not perfect, only forgiven!”
When Jesus Christ said to Thomas the doubter as he is more popularly known, Jesus said “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one goes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus was providing for us the critical path. He knows that the journey to His Eternal Presence is not a smooth ride. There will be bumps along the way.
Grace makes us see our own plank in our eyes rather than the splint in someone’s eyes. Legalism and hypocritical self-righteousness sees the mistakes of others and blur the mirror so they cannot see themselves. There are many professing Christians who are so legalistic, cruel and condemning they cannot see their own sins. And this is so far from the model that Christ Himself displayed.
Do not question any person’s state of spirituality. Never say, be gracious. Exhibit a Christ-like character. If for no other reason than this:
There will be three things which will surprise us when we get to heaven; one, to find many there that we did not expect to find there; another, to find some not there whom we had expected; a third, and perhaps the greatest wonder, will be to find ourselves there. Not because we have taken the perfect path but because we have taken the critical path.
You will succeed in Jesus Name!