If one thing makes you a genuine person, it is being able to admit your faults, your weaknesses, and your failures. We learn from those things, we gain experience from … experience. Yet, growing up as a boy, and then spending 15-years in a pseudo-Christian cult where exposure of failure equaled public shaming, loss of privileges and removal from ministries, admitting faults and failures is not something that comes naturally!
I remember having a lunch with a well respected local businessman who confided in me that he had some serious moral failures in his past, and went on to explain that he was part of a men’s group who would get together, openly expose their failures, pray for one another, and then be a support for each other in overcoming. When he told me this, I was in turmoil – inside – because at once I was shell-shocked that someone would do that, and not fear what would happen to them, and secondly, I yearned for an ear I could do that with – because I have so many failures!
There are other bloggers I follow as well, who have opened up about struggles in their life, that many of us would be too ashamed to admit, of fear that our readers would think less of us for doing so. But, then I remembered a fellow blogger who last year committed suicide. This blogger was a committed woman who spent all of her time listening to the problems of others and offering support and advice on how to overcome.
In the end, I suspect, her demise was never being able to open up about her own problems and find the support she needed. If you have ever studied the 5 Love Languages, which has many different books now, you’ll quickly learn that people tend to offer what they themselves desperately need. A wife who gives you her time wants nothing more than your time in return. A husband that tries to spoil his wife with little gifts is generally someone who likes to receive gifts, – not selfishly, it is just what makes that person feel loved.
Thus, someone who gives most of their time listening to other peoples problems is probably someone who needs to express their problems and simply be heard.
So why is it so hard to express our failings?
1. Fear of loss of Respect
I’ve heard this line, “What do you think your little followers would believe if they knew you…”. This was spoken in anger and hate, but it highlights what most people hold close to their chest – the desire for respect and the fear of losing it. Ironically, the person I heard say this ardently defends and follows a person who has been found violating several laws, fraudulent use of child labor and who has been sued for defamation. That doesn’t seem to deter this person’s followers…
But – it is true nonetheless. We think our failures will cause us to lose the respect of others, and that hurts like a real wound. We must come to the conclusion, that if we have a failing, we must stand up again, learn from it, and pursue ahead with the purpose and talents we have been given. That isn’t to say, that in situations of gross failure, there are no repercussions, but it is to say we can only heal after admitting, we can only recover after diagnosing, and we can only conquer after exposing.
For instance – I am a highly selfish person – I do a lot of what I do for others, but there is nothing more I want than to be alone, to spend my time doing the things I want to do, even when others want to be near me and with me. I don’t like crowds, I rarely think of texting others just to ‘see how they are doing’. I would rather sit in my own universe, and do what I value.
2. Admitting Weakness – losing Strength
Well, as a boy and then a man, who wants to admit weakness? We all need to have that John Wayne strength, the Dirty Harry swagger, the cool confidence of Will Smith. Right?
But what if you found out that those people spent evenings in turmoil? Is it a surprise that those people who are at the top, are often the weakest? The Whitney Houston’s who end their own life because they aren’t ‘good enough’. The Demi Lovato case, who overdoses on heroin. Do you think they would come out and admit that stuff before it was too late? They can’t, they have an image to maintain.
Thus, we find the Pride of Life. Someone who has people that look up to them is on a stage, a false pedestal that makes them refuse to be open about their problems. If your pastor told you tomorrow, he had a pornography addiction – how long do you think it would take for most congregants to abandon that person, and to have his position revoked?
Yet, the Christian Bible says this is EXACTLY the time to embrace them – to lift them up, to love them, as Christ loved them. He died while we were yet sinners (adulterers, fornicators, thieves, robbers, murderers…). Yes, I know, that’s a moral sin… but looking at the Adultress of John 8 – did Jesus reject the woman? Did he remove her from fellowship? Did he tell her to go get right and then come back for forgiveness? Or did he say, ‘Neither do I condemn thee?’
My weakness – admittedly, is wasting WAY too much time playing video games. Shocker I know, but I can easily blow 4-6+ hours playing a game and just shut off from the rest of the world. My brain turns off, my responsibilities turn off, having to think goes away, I just click click click. At the end of it all, I think, ‘I could have done so much more with that time…’
In conclusion, I think this is so applicable to us in this thing we call life – you have to be willing to admit when you are wrong when you have made a mistake, and when you need correction, and be willing to hear it, and accept it.