The Courage to Admit Failure

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Tuesday, December 18, 2018


The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12-13

In clinical research, there are many different functional groups involved. These groups tend to have different operating procedures, timelines, and expectations. When a client is unhappy with the way their study is being managed, it is not surprising for the various functional groups to start blaming each other, particularly when the matter is escalated to Sr. Executive Management level. Often, it is my responsibility to bring every functional group together, do a root cause analysis to find the problem, and come up with solutions to fix the issue according to timelines.

With hundreds of millions of their dollars on the line, the clients are quick to escalate and put pressure on the Clinical research team. That pressure is often redirected and mishandled as the different functional groups start to play the blame game. Even though each functional group knows they need the rest of the team to bring a study to successful completion, it is not unusual for one group to throw the other “under the bus,” so to speak.

Blaming other people is part of our sin gene. We are naturally prone to find someone else to blame for our failures. When there is no human being to blame we blame the devil or society or the “system” or life. It takes a person with integrity to take responsibility for their letdowns without blaming someone else.

In today’s text, Adam and Eve are playing the blame game. Adam blames Eve, and she blames the serpent. None of them confessed their sin and asked for forgiveness. The truth is, Adam was warned and commanded by God not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). He should not have allowed Eve to eat the fruit or eat it himself even if Eve had eaten of it.

Christians should endeavor to live with integrity and honesty. When we make a mistake, we have to own up to it notwithstanding the consequence. We should avoid playing the blame game even when others are at fault. One of my leadership principles is that when something goes wrong, the leader should take the blame. And when the team succeeds, other people should take the credit. I live by that principle in my marriage, in ministry and my corporate life. I deflect praise and recognition to others when things go well, and I take the blame when something I’m involved in fails, even when I’m not personally at fault.

The blame game leads to bitterness and resentment. When something goes wrong, we should be looking for ways to do better instead of blaming someone else. Even if the failure is caused by someone else, we should take the opportunity to offer additional training or encouragement or mentoring to the person who made the mistake. And if they continue to make the same mistake, they should pay the consequence, whatever that is.

Because we are sinful beings, all of us are and will make mistakes continuously. The good news is that God has already forgiven us for our mistakes through Jesus Christ. We have to learn to forgive one another, and have the courage to admit our failures.

Prayer- Father, I repent for every time I played the blame game instead of owning up to my failures. Give me the courage to take responsibility for my mistakes, and the wisdom to be gracious to those that have stumbled.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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