Failure happens, when it does know that it didn’t delete all your prior successes. You don’t start over from nothing, you just pick yourself back up and begin again.
We learn so much from our failure, it’s such a great teacher. The pain, the conviction, the loss of momentum. One of the many nice things about small group is that you get to learn from every one else’s mistakes, and there are many. You see the patterns and it’s crystal clear, you learn what not to do.
Sexual failure is almost always preceded by being tired, or hopeless, or lonely, or bored. You didn’t just fail, you built up to it. There are 40 steps you have to take to have an affair. You didn’t just jump into bed and go “oops.” you knew you were headed there. You just kept walking right by the yellow warning flags counting down the steps until it happened. Failure begins at step 39, the little things, you feel the conviction and you ignore it……the prolonged eye contact, the smile, lingering to talk at an event, laughter, touch, information shared that should be only for your wife, kids on a play date at the park……38, 37, 36, 35, 34……. The steps to a major failure don’t all happen in a day, they take weeks, months even many times, know this about yourself, take action, and cut it off before it begins.
The best way to prevent failure is regularly stay in the light with other men, let them know who you are, especially your weaknesses. Call one of them before you fail, not after. No one wants to be used as a confessional. it doesn’t have a positive effect on your friendships when you make a mistake and an hour later call a friend to confess. It really drains the relational bank account and is double selfish to unload your crap on someone right after a fall. No one wants to take that call, no one wants to hear it. If you screw up, own it, know that it’s all your fault and no one else’s. Ask God’s forgiveness and plow through the rest of your week until Monday night. Sit in the garbage and let the pain teach you. Feel it so you remember how bad it felt and let the lousy memory of it keep you from going there next time temptation knocks on the door.
One of the things we lost in the reformation was the confessional. The good news is that we have brought it back in the form of the small group on Monday night. What a fantastically perfect place to confess sin as we don’t just confess it, we are actively repenting from it.
When taking a confession, show compassion and be the type of man that you would want to confess to. Do your best not to show judgment and impart forgiveness. Encourage them, say “good job for bringing it out in the open, that was hard to say wasn’t it?” Mark sure they know they are not alone. Show mercy, understanding, be excepting, and make sure they know you believe in them. Put a hand on their shoulder and pray for them. Pray like you would want someone to pray for you, and impart hope for the future.
When confessing sin make sure not to minimize it. Be humble, and contrite. Try not to be angry with yourself and when processing about it make sure the information leading to the failure isn’t used as an excuse, but more of a “this is what I did, these are the mistakes I made, and this is what I learned” scenario. The end result should be “I’m wiser and it’s not going to get me like that again.”
Know that failure happens so forgive yourself and receive the grace of God. Show compassion to yourself, dust off and move on. God is with you, he is for you and what he started in you, he will finish, and finish well. You’re getting better, your moving forward. You may have tripped and fallen but nothing is broken that cannot and will not be healed. Love you yourself and continue to care for yourself, you’re worth it, every moment of it. God has unimaginable plans for you, more than you can ever conceive and he is working them out as we speak. He chose you, you’re on assignment, and he’s got your back.
That group of men in your life that hears what is going on inside/outside of you each week is your life line, hold on to it and don’t let go. As you progress forward and keep getting better don’t be tempted to think “I’m good.” Those men don’t just keep you from sin but they continually push you to be a better man. They see things you cannot, they’re your eyes where you cannot see, your ears where you cannot hear, and your extra hand when you are in need. Continue to do the work that it takes to keep them close and failure will keep it’s distance.