How to Bounce Back When You Have Crushed Your Own Character
As I am growing to become a better leader, I have been faced with the challenge of restoring the trust and integrity with others due to poor choices that I have made. I believe it is safe to say that we’ve all burned bridges and loss and gain trust with individuals. Whether it be a small issue or a blowout. Trust sometimes can take years to establish but yet trust can be loss within a matter of seconds. How do you come back when you have failed one another? When you have failed your spouse? When you have failed your children?
We have seen it in politics, religious institutions, and even in our homes. We have many people in our lives that we have considered as role-models or even idols have failed us at least once. There are pastors or church leaders who have been caught in unethical situations every year. Because of their mistake, many people have decided that they are not a leader they want to “follow”. But yet we make mistakes all the time in our lives. All of the good the leader have done over the years can be cancelled or forgotten in seconds because of a mistake or failure. The person can ask for forgiveness over and over again. We can ask for forgiveness all day long but that does not equate to restoration of trust? Can the Violation of trust by a self-imposed destruction of the integrity and character cannot be restored merely by forgiveness?
We can ask for forgiveness all day long but that does not equate to restoration of trust?
Trying to Build Up Broken Bridges
One of the the reason why a leader have success is because people trust them. It is not how you move through the English language with finesse or your personality. It was them buying-in or trusting in you. It took the testing of their character and integrity to build trust with others. When one fails, the door of trust is closed. But how is that door opened back up? The door of trust is opened and closed based on both parties. We have a choice whether or not to trust again. The leader have a choice to make themselves trustworthy. One of the keys of reconciliation is to know that works alone will not bring back trust. Talents and gifts are only as safe as your character and integrity. Without both, your works means nothing.
So how does one bounce back when their character was self-destructed? Or how can you restore trust when someone has done you wrong? What do you do when you have lost it all? Your character carries so much weight with where you stand with others. Now I am a Believer of Christ so I am only writing from the tense of having the Word of God as the foundation of morals and beliefs and as an accountability mechanism. The Bible is my final authority. Unbelievers foundation of beliefs is based on other things that are not of God Almighty. So we cannot hold our standards to them. You can always tell in a person of where they lay final authority in. You can always tell how people handle life’s situations whether or not they are rooted and grounded in the Word of God. If someone hurts you, how do you handle it? If you hurt others, how do you reconcile?
If you are a Believer in Christ, your final authority should be the Word of God.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
Because God brought Jesus here on earth to be the vehicle to reconcile God and man, God has commanded us to do the same with one another. With the grace and mercy that God has extended to us when we fall, God expects us to do the same. Loving how God loves us is the toughest thing to accomplish especially if He is not The Lord of your life. The problem is not the failure. The problem is how you deal with the failure. Many leaders do not know how to deal with their own failures and others as well. Pretending that it did not happen does not cancel it. Letting time past does not let it off the hook. The key is reconciliation. We have to be able to face one another and talk things out. After talking things out, we have give each other room for God to come in and handle the rest.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. – 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Oh how we love to hold on to accusation and faults of one another and at the same time is it hard to move on when you hurt one another or others hurt you. Colossians 3:13 reminds us that “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave.” The question is what do you do when you have forgiven them? Do you hold it against them? And the answer is no. You are supposed to restore them to the place where they have fallen (Heb. 6). We should always extend the hope of recovery. The enemy wants us to believe that a someone cannot be trusted again or you have to hold reservations towards them. That is not the way of the Kingdom. If our final authority is in the word of God, then we should be able to reconcile our differences.
When we fail one another, the guilt is heavy. I know with me, The Holy Spirit is constantly in teaching mode. He allows me to see when I have done something wrong when handling situations. Whether it is instant or later, I am always corrected. I always say “you cannot trust man”. The better approach is that because we are man, we have to give other believers room to make mistakes and get messy. Also give people time for them to move forward. We all progress and move at various rates. Matthew gives a principle of how to reconcile differences. The key in that scripture is that “if you have won them over” meaning that you all have a chance to talk about it and both have seen where they have fallen and repent, then the relationship is salvageable.
The better approach is that because we are man, we have to give other believers room to make mistakes and get messy. Also give people time for them to move forward. We all progress and move at various rates.
As leaders, we are going to make mistakes, hurt people, or say the wrong thing. The test is the aftermath. Do we go and apologize? Are we so prideful to the point where we do not see our mistakes? Great is the person that can go to the one you have hurt and explain scripturally where they have fallen and what we should do about it. Only under test can your character be proven. You only believe what you believe until you are tested to break it or not. Your convictions are proven by test. Not by pronouncements. What you claim must be tested. Live out what you proclaim.