A friend has been learning a lot about the Achilles tendon lately. At 47-years-old, locals nicknamed him "Old School" because he is still able to teach the young guns a few basketball lessons. However, the wear-and-tear from years on the court has started to wear-out the oh-so-critical tendon. So now Old School just feels old and (gulp) has to admit he has a weakness...
And that's what's most important. He has to admit he has a weakness. Now, he can do something about it, and perhaps get Old School back in session someday.
I think the greatest weakness men can have is being unaware that they have them. That's why we call them "blind spots," because we all have them, but often can't see them. An unexposed blind spot can cost a man everything. You are thinking everything is great but those around you have had enough and slowly start withdrawing. On the other hand, openly addressing a blind spot can be one of the hardest, but best things a man can do. The big idea is this: a man's greatest weakness is not the blind spot itself, but being unwilling to recognize or admit to it.
I received a letter from a guy who had the guts to share his Achilles heel with me, explaining the "kickbacks" from a few of his "kicks." He implored me to "tell your men to learn from my mistakes!" This man confessed having an extra-marital affair. It took guts to decide to tell his wife, and start a difficult phase of life, knowing he would have to absorb a lot of pain in the process of trying to restore his marriage.
Most men are not brave enough to face the music, do the hard work of repentance, accept the repercussions and pursue restoration. Many bail out of this man-sized responsibility, get defensive, excuse themselves, accuse others, and remain the boy (emotionally). The point is this: tragic events can be avoided by simply admitting to a weakness early in the process.
God has lots of plans for our mistakes and weaknesses. While the enemy uses them to destroy us, God uses them to build us. It seems counter-intuitive to think like this, and that's why men would rather hide their weaknesses. It takes a real man to reveal real weakness.
I often bring this man's letter with me to share with other men. It helps me demonstrate how the Devil, our flesh, and the world won't give us all the facts about sin. It also highlights how we like to rationalize the facts in order to make space to sin. Lastly, it reveals real spiritual battles and how the devil wants you to focus on your feelings in the moment.
I read this dude's letter to the audience before me. The room gets real quiet.
It's a perfect example of how God uses brokenness for his work. This man's letter is now serving a powerful purpose. Tens of thousands of men have been touched by his willingness to let God use the most painful lesson of his life. Because when men hear the candid confession, consequences and pain, they have to pause for a minute to reflect on the same question:
"What weakness do you have that could potentially destroy your life?"
We can learn from the apostle Paul, who wrote how to deal with blind spots.
"…So I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become." — 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, MSG
Here's how to avoid a titanic moral failure:
Accept full responsibility for it.
Embrace God's plan to use it.
And, remember God is with you, and will provide strength and courage along the way. Paul explained it this way:
"He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us." — 2 Corinthians 1:4, MSG