Sharing Your Failures

I was reading Genesis, the first book of the Bible, and noticed people made some of the same mistakes as their parents. Most noticeably was Isaac following in his father Abraham’s (failed) footsteps. On two occasions Abraham told his wife Sarah to tell people in the town she was his sister, not his wife. Abraham was afraid, because of Sarah’s beauty, that the people who didn’t fear God would kill him to take his wife. But if she was just his sister then the people would have to treat him well. [Interesting how Abraham’s concern was the people who didn’t fear God, yet he was afraid of the people instead of trusting God.] (See Genesis 12 and 20)

Abraham did this twice, both times with negative consequences. Meanwhile God was telling him He would give Abraham many descendants and that he would be blessed.

Finally that promised descendant arrives: Isaac. Eventually Isaac grows up and gets married and as they travel into town Isaac says to his wife, “tell them you are my sister”(Genesis 26:7). I wonder where he would learn something like that…

Did his father tell him, “I made a stupid mistake. I shamed your mother. I didn’t trust God. I brought dishonor upon our family. I caused infertility and sickness in the family that brought your mother into their house… I wish I had chosen different.”

Or did Mom and Dad laugh about it, “Remember that time we sort of lied to everyone… Sister, wife, eh… and then we received gifts from the people we lied to! Boy did we fool them!”

I don’t know what happened. The Bible doesn’t tell us. I think it’s strange that the son makes the same mistake as his father. I don’t think anyone else in the Bible played the wife/sister card. But it makes me think: how will I share my failures in a way that doesn’t glorify, excuse, or cover up sin, but a way that honors God and shows the blessing of right choices. I think it’s a good thing to share not just with your children, but with anyone who might benefit.

Some things are too personal, or age appropriate, or involve other people who don’t want the story shared. But a few things come to my mind of lessons I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ll try to write about them in the next post. Meanwhile you can think about what wrong choices you’ve made that you wouldn’t want others to repeat.

“One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4


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