Lesson Learned

It’s been in the news again this week.  Another high profile person going down for treating others disrespectfully.  He got fired.  Others haven’t.  But investigations may or may not prove the truth of what’s being said.

I’m sure there are many others living in fear that their disgusting acts and words will be shared with the world.  Their worst moments will be publicized.  Are they preparing for a fight?  Will they defend themselves even if the proof is undeniable?  Are they really innocent and suffering needlessly?  Only time will tell.

I’ve never understood how people who’ve treated others badly seem to be sorry only when they’ve been caught.  When they’ve been outed to the world.  When the bad acts have perhaps been happening for years?  Why act sorry now?  Are they sorry they hurt someone else?  Did they try to stop themselves?  Did they just move on and find another victim?  Or are they just sorry they got caught?  I always wonder.


Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23


I never understood that type of behavior.  Until I realized I’m one of them.  Oh.  Not for the same reason.  But I am guilty of doing wrong to another.

I talked about her behind her back.  I was sorry only when I thought she had heard me.

Now I know how those public figures feel when they’ve been outed for their sins.  When their private acts become public knowledge.  They’re sorry now that they’ve been caught.  That’s how I felt.  Sorry that I’d been caught.  Why wasn’t I sorry for speaking ill of someone while I was doing it?  Why didn’t I just stop my words when they became thoughts?  Because I thought she wasn’t sitting near me.  Because I thought she wouldn’t hear.  Because I thought I wouldn’t get caught.

I’m no better than those who have been caught.  I wronged an innocent person.  She did nothing wrong.  She didn’t ask for it.  I was wrong.

It’s a different emotion you feel when you’ve been caught.  Where once you felt in control of the situation, now the situation controls you.  You live in fear.  You’ve been exposed for who you really are.  No longer invincible.  No longer living with integrity.  No longer the trusted friend.

Shame.  Remorse.  Fear.  Dare we hope for forgiveness.  I can see how someone living in the depths of hopelessness might choose to end their life.  When they think they are unforgivable.  When they know the world will learn of their failings.  When they think they’ve lost everything.  I’m not hopeless. I didn’t consider ending my life.  But I wanted to run.  I wanted to run away from the situation and never go back.  I don’t ever again want to have that awful feeling in my gut that I’ve wronged someone else.

No.  There was no inappropriate touching or gestures.  No sleazy suggestions or threats.  But there were words spoken about someone who trusted me.  Someone who days before had called me friend.  Why did I do it?  I was uncomfortable with her friendliness.  Wanting more from me than I could give.  So I spoke about her.  Not against her.  But not for her.

I get it now.  How others must feel when they’ve been exposed.  It feels ugly.  Really ugly.  How do I face her ever again?  How can I look her in the eye?

I’ve graciously been spared from embarrassment this time.  My rude words were left unheard by the victim.  Heartache that could have happened didn’t.  My honor is still intact.  At least, outwardly.  Inwardly, it’s taken a beating.  As it should.  I’ve learned my lesson.

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