Have you ever been told, "I was hoping you failed?" Or perhaps someone didn't directly make a comment like that, but by their actions and words you instinctively knew they hoped you failed at whatever you were setting out to accomplish.
When it happens in the secular world, one can understand, when it happens in the Christian world it's...well...unChristian.
Now let's clarify, we're not talking about setting out to do that which is unbiblical, but going forward in following God's call to reach people for the Kingdom.
Sometime ago I was on the receiving end of statements and/or implications as mentioned above. As a leader people are going to talk about you, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Yet when I heard this I have to admit I was a bit shocked. It was simply stated, sad.
Essentially the sentiment went like this. I hope you fail so that I can be right because I don't like how your doing things. So I hope you fail because it's more important that I'm right and you're pride is torn down.
Again those weren't the exact words mentioned but without a doubt implied (how I felt).
Wanting anyone to fail as they set out in ministry, in an earnest and intentional manner to win people for God's kingdom is for lack of a word wrong. Here's what I've observed though:
1. People want you to fail because you're not doing things the way they want you to do them. So if you fail they can tell you, 'see it didn't work'
2. People want you to fail because it makes them feel better about their own failures. They'll be like, 'hey you see he/she failed so they're not better than me'
3. People want you to fail because they're jealous.
4. People want you to fail because they simply don't like you.
This is not always the case but I've also noticed that people who want others to fail is often because they aren't doing much themselves and are probably afraid to try and well...fail. Personally I prefer to try and fail then to sit down and never try anything to increase God's glory and His kingdom.
The book of Acts has a great line by a well respected person named Gamaliel. Here's what he said to the council that was frustrated with Peter and the others preaching Jesus.
"And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest you even be found to fight against God." (Acts 5:38,39 NKJV)Gamaliel was right, God is in control. There have been times when I and others have set out to do something for God and it has not worked out the way we would have like and other times when amazingly we felt we didn't do 'enough' and yet God blessed.
Ultimately God will bless what He will bless! If something we are doing isn't proving to be what we had hoped, then surely we need to re-evaluate (pray, have discussions, etc.). We should always be evaluating what we are doing (even if what one is doing is being blessed) as a church locally as well as an institution/denomination.
You see the reality is that we don't always know what God is going to bless or not bless. Therefore we must move forward knowing that failure is a risk we must take. Also we must not forget that sometimes what in human eyes may seem as a failure actually works out to be the greatest success ever imagined.
When Jesus hung on the cross it may have seemed as failure but praise God that it was THE greatest success story in the history of the universe.
I don't know who said it but I recently read this quote:
"In order to succeed you first must be willing to fail"So I hope you fail...