“Part of getting a second chance is taking responsibility for what you did wrong in the first place.” ~ Jack Bauer
If we do not accept the responsibility for the things we have done wrong, than how can we take the credit when we get it right? I’m not a person in charge of keeping state secrets or stopping international crisis as in the case of Mr. Jack Bauer, but I have put out my share of fires in my day. I didn’t always get the full credit deserved, and as God would have it I didn’t always get the full blame when I had it coming either. The difference between blame and fame is usually execution and judgment.
As people we all are fallible in our execution and judgment at one time or another. Personally I have made more mistakes than I care to count. As a human I learn from mistakes, and not always the first time, but when I fail with people at this point in my life it usually only happens once. Also by the grace of God I will often get right the first time, but that isn’t why I’m writing at this moment in time.
There are some things I still get wrong, like knowing when to let people be people and not let them fail. I’m no Jack Bauer like I stated above, and I’m not a leader at this point in time either. However I am a husband, son, and a friend to a few. I will state that I often cannot stand to watch someone fall. Empathy is a characteristic of mine that can put me in a place of failure if I let it control my need to correct something that may need to happen.
Learning moments only happen to those that let have had consequences for the most part. Passed on wisdom is often forgotten unless it is repeated and shared by a good father or teacher. People will often also have epiphanies, but will often forget these light bulbs that hit them in all sorts of times and places, unless they are practiced immediately and often. Wisdom, true wisdom, is something gained from experience of either seeing the evidence of what a teacher has taught, or consequences of having failed the first time or more.
Here is the hard part. Watching someone fail is miserable at times for a decent human. For some it is enjoyable, but I’m not directing this at people who lack decency and moral fiber. I am in the assumption that most of us pull for natural winners and underdogs alike. We were, at one point were a more forgiving society, I’m pulling for the world to get it right and I turn stop hating for hatred’s sake. In truth we have not shown that we are a country that can do this at this point, but still I pray.
Where do we draw the boundary at keep lifting those up who continue to fail? When people continue to fall from their word and stop being a person we can trust then we are given the option to move on or pick them up dust them off, feed them and love them again. I have sat with this time and time again. For my own actions and others. I think of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
30 In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
36 ‘Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’
37 The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’
Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’
For many Christian’s because in my opinion we are being taught by mainstream society that helping someone too much is not helping people at all. It is easy to see that hard lessons quicken the pace of learning. I know homeless shelters see the same men and women come to them over and over again. How often do are they to be helped?
In a penal based society we give people one or even a few chances to pay the price and no more chances come. In our homes, though this is different. We would never lock our children in their rooms until they were eighteen, of course pardon the aside, my wife and I have no children, easy for me to say I suppose.
The focus of the Parable of the Good Samaritan as well is of course to one of the overriding issues in the New Testament, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. The New Testament is a book of Love a book of the knowledge of what Jesus did at Calvary for our sins, and to open heavens gate so that we all may enter if we not just accept the love he has for us, but the love we should have for all. God forgives seventy times seven in the New Testament if you are keeping score at home.
Can we still be troubled by this as well due to the knowledge of the Parable of the Faithful Servant who versus the knowledge that the wicked servant squandered his talents? It was the good servant who handled a few things well and was entrusted with many more things.
21 ‘His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
The truth is in this world there is a large difference between understanding the difference between loving your neighbor and putting them in charge of your assets. Trust is not based on if they have made mistakes or if we love them. Trust is based upon how much we entrust them after they show a pattern of making the same mistakes over and over again.
In the end we hurt our lives if we care so much that we begin to pick up the bags of Gold that we have entrusted others with, after they have failed, and then we begin looking for a hole to bury all the bags we hold just to keep them safe. At that point, we are the wicked servants. Some people would call this codependency others would call it not knowing when to say no, but in the end it is about proven execution and judgment.