Not long ago, my kids introduced a new phrase to my vocabulary: “Epic Fail.” I think it happened when I stood on a ladder that was leaning against a thin willow branch and said, “Watch this.” An epic fail, I learned, is a colossal goof up. Like the road sign that says “SOTP,” rather than “STOP.” Or the video of a guy who tries to kick a soccer ball, misses the ball, slips, lands on the ball and it pops with a loud bang. Here are some of history’s epic fails.

1. NASA accidently taped over the recording of the moon landing. It’s true. Maybe there was a good football game on or an episode of MASH.
2. Then there was the German U-boat that was sunk by its own toilet. U-1206 was fitted with a biffy that was so complicated it could only be flushed by specially trained toilet flushers. But one week into U-1206’s maiden voyage, the captain decided that he was smart enough to try it himself. The resulting flood reached the ship’s batteries and released chlorine gas. So they surfaced, were promptly located and bombed. Making it the only warship in naval history to be doomed by its own toilet.
3. During the 2017 Academy Awards ceremony, the host announced that Best Picture went to La La Land. The cast filed onto the stage proudly to receive the year’s biggest award. Then came a kafuffle. A man grabbed the mic. “I’m sorry,” he said, “there was a mistake.” Moonlight won Best Picture.

Well, maybe you haven’t failed quite so publicly. I hope you haven’t flushed anything that sunk a submarine. But we’ve all failed at some point, haven’t we? One young Christian admitted that the biggest stumbling block in his Christian life was not his old drinking buddies, but a few sceptical Christians waiting for him to fall flat on his face so they could say, “I told you so.” Please don’t join that crowd. Many of us think we have the gift of discernment when it comes to the faults and failures of others. What we really have is the gift of disapproval. A gift we need to take back for a refund.

Listen to Galatians 6:1-2 “…if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Is there someone in your life who’s struggling? Stop being their critic and be their encourager. Who knows, that person might become your greatest encourager the next time you fail.

Reminds me of the time NASA lost the $125 million Mars orbiter. The reason? One engineering team used English measuring units. Another used Metric. Epic Fail.

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