Are you a failure? I can answer that question for all of us: Yes. Yes, you are a failure, and so am I. It is inherent in each of us to fail miserably at various points in our lives. Some of us have failed rather visibly; with others it may be less obvious. But it began with our ancestor Adam and, since then, each of his descendants has continued to fail. Let’s explore some real steps we must take in order to recover from failure.

Step one is to admit we’ve failed. For many, this is the hardest thing to do. However, until we admit our failures without excuses, we won’t be able to find our way back.

What’s your first reaction when you know you’ve failed? I can tell you what mine is—I want to run away. I don’t want to face it; I want to forget it or ignore it. After that, my tendency is to rationalize and excuse my failure. It’s amazing how good I am at finding ways to escape from blame when I’ve failed.

Unfortunately, it’s very common to hear people these days blaming all their failures on others. It’s become popular to nail parents as the cause of our failures, or our social status, or our bad breaks. Oh, we can find lots of scapegoats when we’re forced to acknowledge that we’ve failed. But as long as we refuse to take the responsibility and be held accountable for our failures, we will be unable to recover from them.

Let me encourage you today to simply admit to God that you’ve failed. When you do, leave off all the qualifying phrases that usually follow. You know what I mean: “I failed in that relationship, but if he had just tried to understand me, we could have worked it out.” Or, “I failed to show the love of Christ to that difficult co-worker, but believe me, I’m nicer to her than most people. No one can get along with her.” Leave off the phrases that start with “but.” Just admit you’ve failed.

This is called confession. While it may be true that other people promoted or contributed to your failure through failures of their own, you can only confess for yourself. Until you are willing to be accountable for your failures, you’ll never recover from them.