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The Bible is full of plenty of examples. We like to talk about the good examples, but we need to talk about the bad ones, too.

Some of the people in the Bible most praised for their faith made some of the worst choices. Abraham believed God’s promise to him about being the father of many nations, but at one point he and Sarah tried to speed up the process under their own power as if afraid God wouldn’t deliver. David was a man after God’s own heart, but he also murdered and committed adultery. Paul was one of the greatest missionaries, but he had been one of the most zealous persecutors of Christians.

All throughout the Bible we see dysfunctional families, poor decisions, and outright rebellious sin, often from the same people who later on display the greatest faith, make wise decisions, and choose obedience to God even when it costs them. Just like these people learned from their mistakes, we can learn from mistakes (even ones that are not our own). Just like they became good examples, so can we. Just like God didn’t give up on them and transformed their lives, so He can do with us.

The Bible is honest about people, sometimes brutally so. Through the Bible, God made sure we know about real people in a real world. He made sure we know about ourselves. We aren’t perfect, the people in the Bible weren’t perfect, but we can see that God is perfect and He can turn things around even when we fail.