We’ve all done those things we regret. We’ve made bad choices and our actions have dented our character. Our mistakes and missed steps are not the worst of it. The torture of it all is disappointing ourselves and worst yet those who trusted us. Once our character is in question it takes a long time to repair, if it can be repaired.
Time is not always kind to our battered character. Even if those who we have offended forgive us – which assumes we have the guts to admit our mistake and ask for forgiveness – our job is to then give them time. One sentence which includes “I’m sorry” does not rebuild their faith or our character. We must be willing to spend time proving we have learned and changed and sustaining a blemish free existence. It is a tall order for them and for us. We have violated trust which is only built through consistent actions over time. And remember, time is not always kind.
Then there are the bystanders, the observers who have seen us do to someone else what they hope we will never do to them. They too need time to digest and understand how to trust us knowing we have broken trust with someone else. They too trusted us and even if they were not the object of our actions they are directly hurt by our failure. They too will need to see change and learning over a long period of time.
And then there is our own mind, our self image and our self awareness. We have to have time to swim in the deep end we have flooded with foolishness. Facing the consequences of our actions, knowing that how we behaved is not the person we truly want to be. We must process through it in our own way, with others, maybe with professional help and hopefully with a great deal of faith. We too will need time to learn why and how we ended up on the wrong end of it AND how to avoid that same trap in the future.
I write this for two people I know who have made very bad decisions lately, decisions that dented, bruised and completely crushed the souls of others. One has shown regret the other is too proud to admit the wrong. I hope that both will be able to process, learn and rebuild their character in the eyes of those they love. Character broken is hard to restore. It is possible, it takes lots of time and forgiveness. My hope for these two is that their actions moving forward match the person they claim they want to be…only time will tell.