The fight for sexual purity is difficult and often full of failure. Failure yes, defeat no. Our ultimate success comes down to what we do with the failures, how we handle them, what we learn from them, and then what we do from there.
Failure is no fun but if you have a heart beat, it happens. We learn a lot from our own failures, they stick with us and continue to teach us for years. One of the many nice things about sitting in a small group every week with 7 other men is that you get to be in relationship and watch other men fail. It’s a front row seat that brings you so close that you feel the pain and the consequences of the mistakes and you learn with out having to fail yourself. Sitting in your group also let’s you see the successes and what they’re doing right. We’re learning both ways.
Failure is what happens before we succeed. It’s just part of the deal. If you have had a recent failure forgive yourself, and receive the grace of God. When the confession passes our lips He forgives us but often it takes a while to forgive ourselves. Part of that is memory working to help you not make the mistakes that led you to a fall. It’s you doing the work to do things different next time. Conviction gives us power to change. Conviction is that really lousy feeling that we get when we screw up or are on our way to screwing up. It’s God given, it’s a flashing red light in our spirit to stop the direction we are heading and turn around. It’s different than guilt or shame. You can recognize it because it comes before and during the mistake, not after. Shame and guilt pollutes our connection with God but conviction is tender and has the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23). It’s there to help you, not hurt you. Its a father encouraging better and imparting wisdom. Conviction is our friend.
When responding to the failure of others; listen, feel the pain with them, then hit them with a “good job” for bring it into the light and let them know you love them. Separate the sin from the man and impart the grace of God. See the good in the future for them, encourage them, remind them of their past victories. Let them pull from your strength and know that you believe in them. This response makes men better, it gets men better, it sets them up to pull their boots on and get after it again. To learn and yet to live again with renewed purpose and vision of what they can be, what they are headed towards, it’s fun to watch and a blessing to be apart of. Men honor you with their confession. It says “I trust you”, “I respect you,” “I give you the power to restore me.” It’s good for us, it’s good for them. Done right, we’re both better men for it.
There are a great four lines from a Scottish poem that says:
Fight on, my men, Sir Andrew said,
A little I’m hurt but not yet slain.
I’ll just lie down and bleed awhile,
And I’ll rise and fight again.
Let failure you teach you and not take you out. Stay in the game and play hurt, it’s a violent sport and the other team has a bounty on your head. Know that when it comes to sexual purity he who doesn’t quit, wins. Resolve to do what you need to do to get better over the long term. Past failure is today’s wisdom. Lie down, bleed awhile, then rise and fight again.