Men experience moral failure in mere seconds, but the act of failing takes a long, long time to achieve in my experience. Every time I sit across from a man whose world is imploding, it takes but a few moments of listening to his story until it becomes clear as to why he’s in such a state of shame.
I’ve never met a man who experienced moral failure that was devoid of friends. We’ve all got friends. Friendship has forever been a shallow concept to me. Friends are everywhere. Friends are all around you. They “like” your Facebook page, they “retweet” posts on your Twitter feed. Friends play golf with you, grab lunch, or go on a weekend duck hunt. That’s what friends do.
Friends are important. Friends will make life more fun for you. What friends will not do for you, however, is be there for you when life starts to get demanding. I mean, really, really demanding.
Friendship has always been a shallow concept for me.
What matters to me, what provides strength to my soul, is not friendship but brotherhood. Brothers run into the flaming mess of a man’s life while friends are running for the exit door to get out of the heat.
So, what is the single greatest reason men experience moral failure? It’s not an addiction to porn. It’s not a lust for power within their company. It’s not a burning desire to embezzle funds so they can get rich. That may be where it ends, but that’s not where failure begins.
Moral failure in the life of a man always starts with a man letting people into his life that never should have been there in the first place.
Before you dismiss my position, be sure you're not reading something into it that I'm not saying.
Are bad influences the only reason a man fails morally? Of course not.
Is it someone else's fault when a man falls? No. A man who sins chooses to sin. He wanted to do it, so he did.
Do men who have righteous men in their lives fall to sin? Of course they do. Sin is inside all of us, and we know that full well.
This is what I know: the affair, the addiction, the embezzlement, the self-destruction . . . those are just symptoms of a disease that's gone systemic.
What I've seen too many times to recall is that men position themselves alongside other men, ungodly men, men who care not of kingdom things, and think that somehow, through some testosterone laden mojo, that they can be immune to influence.
When you live on the edge where there's no margin for error, and you're willing to run with men who love life on the edge, then why be shocked when you fall off the cliff?
What looked like a few drinks became a group of friends who never had your best interests in mind.
What felt like a standing Saturday tee time with some men who like to play $5 skins landed you smack in the middle of their addiction to gambling. You get the visual, right?
A man experiences moral failure because he doesn’t have brothers. That’s the flipside of this rusted, rotten coin called friendship. Men who let friends into their lives that had no business being there simultaneously push out brothers who could have spotted the coming freight train.
Letting friends into your life that had no business being there is the first step toward moral failure, but the second step, the second quick step, the soul pivot away from God, is when a man simultaneously isolates himself from righteous brothers.
I took an assessment of my life recently.
I found I had far more friends than brothers. That’s ok, really. I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it, because the brothers I do have are playing for keeps when it comes to protecting my life.
You know who you are.
I’m praying you never stop.
Jason Cruise is a published author and speaker.
He's the host of Spring Chronicles on Sportsman Channel.