Mistakes and Failures

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

When Josef II died on this day in 1790, he had been the Holy Roman emperor since 1765 and the sole ruler of the Austrian Habsburg dominions since 1780. Known as an “enlightened despot,” he had been an active reformer even when such policies were controversial. He lessened religious persecution, abolished censorship, and gave some freedom to serfs. These were radical concepts in his day.

But after Josef’s reign began receiving more criticism, censorship was reimposed. In part because of concerns caused by the French Revolution, he felt pressure to withdraw some reforms. As he approached death and looked back on his life, he saw nothing but failure. We sense his disappointment in the epitaph he wrote to be carved on his tomb: “Here lies Josef II, who failed in all his undertakings.”

Today, Josef often is remembered less for his failures and more for his accomplishments—a man who took risks and tried to make a difference. Yes, he was imperfect, but, as historian Friedrich Schreyvogl has commented, he is considered “the people’s emperor,” a man who was “born one century too soon.”

At one time or another, all of us face failure. The key is how we react. Peter knew he had failed when he denied knowing Jesus, but he didn’t give up. He allowed God to forgive and restore him. And, through the power of the Holy Spirit, he became a mighty leader in the Church.

How do you deal with mistakes and failures? Do you become filled with guilt and give up? Don’t let failure cripple you. Be like Peter: Admit your mistakes to God. Ask for His forgiveness, and let Him restore you. If you allow Him, He can use even your mistakes for His glory.