The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
Sometimes we fail.
In the last week or so, I’ve learned of a couple of friends who stumbled in their commitment to purity, choosing behaviors that are already costing them far more than the moment of pleasure could ever justify. My hear is broken for these friends and the families that now are overwhelmed with turmoil.
How do we respond when we fail? How about when those around us are caught in tragic choices?
First, when we fail, no healing can begin until we take full responsibility for our choices. Precious minutes, hours, days, and weeks are lost while we try to excuse our behavior, sidestep responsibility, and blame others. There’s simply nothing good in such behavior. Confessing our wrong is an absolute first step toward overcoming wrong choices.
Second, we must recommit to the right path. When you make a wrong choice, you open a door that’s hard to get closed. Guaranteed, the second opportunity to make that same choice will be even easier, and every day, the chasm of opportunity grows wider. The only way to close the door is to renew our commitment to right choices. Unacceptable choices aren’t a reason to give up or just decide to go further down that tragic path. When you fall, don’t lay in the dirt, but get back up as fast as you can.
Third, give those you’ve hurt full opportunity to process their emotions. Yes, you’ll want everyone to move on quickly, but when you’ve hurt someone, you don’t get to choose how rapidly they heal. If you feel frustrated that those who love you can’t seem to overcome their hurt, remember that your choices launched this journey, but you don’t get to control the road forward.
Fourth, expect a time of depression. As we face the fallout of failure, we will carry many negative emotions, and they will frequently be heavier than our ability to bear them. Depression is the mind’s way to process trauma at a slower, manageable pace. Don’t resist or reject these feelings for they are a big part of the motivation you’ll need to stay away from dangerous paths.
Finally, build new boundaries in your life that will keep you from this path in the future. Don’t think you can go forward without some new strategies. Build the right “fences” in your life. Recognize that you will always possess the potential for a repeat performance, so don’t let the road to bad choices be as easy to find. Stay away from the people and places that were on the road you once walked.
Next week, we’ll look at how to respond when a friend fails and leaves you hurting…