Failing is a fact of life in a broken world.  We all fail.  Some learn from failure.  Some don’t.  Most people don’t plan to fail and certainly don’t plan to repeat a particular failure.

Samuel Beckett once wrote; “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”  I have even heard this preached from a pulpit and witnessed many unwitting dupes accept the saying as’ gospel’.  For people in recovery this bit of worldly wisdom is very dangerous.

Why?   The ‘Failing better’ mantra encourages people to view failure as a stepping stone to success.   Expecting failure to mutate into success over time is magical thinking.  This kind of sloppy thinking enables people to side step taking responsibility for their mistakes.  Failing better trivializes the life lessons failure can provide and allows people to view failure as some kind of planning tool.   In reality learning from our failures and not repeating them are stepping-stones to success.

The Bible tells us plainly that everyone fails or stumbles; “For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. ” (Proverb 24:16)   Scripture also is very clear about the seriousness of repeated sin; “Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.”  (Proverbs 26:11)  The Apostle Paul warns us; “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22,23)

‘Failing better – next time’ is a fiendish philosophy when it is applied to morality and right living because it trivializes sin and in so doing takes away the need for repentance in a person’s life.  No one repents of something they plan to do ‘better’ next time.  There is no Godly sorrow possible for sinful failings that a person has been given permission to take another run at.  At best a man is left only with worldly sorrow because of the consequences of his mistakes.  The Bible is clear on the outcome of worldly sorrow repeated over and over again; “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Beware of any doctrines or teaching by men that trivialize sin and give permission to repeat failures even if they tell you to ‘do it better’ next time.  Those teachings are easy to hear because they appeal to our carnal nature but scripture warns us about those that teach such things; “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

Jesus never told anyone to ‘fail better – next time’.  In His compassionate way He said the very opposite; “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:11)