It’s all very well writing about leadership and integrity in business and in the community, but what happens when we get it wrong?
What happens when we totally blow it? Is there hope after a disaster?
Well it’s true that our mistakes carry a penalty. They affect us, our families, our communities, and sometimes even our country.
For a real effect, the penalty must be paid or cancelled. But what happens when we cannot pay?
As I get older I become much more understanding of others’ weaknesses and failings. Maybe it’s because my own repertoire of shortcomings is ever-expanding; like a kind of virtual “middle-age spread”!
One of the most moving accounts I heard, was the story told by a former Cabinet Minister who had ended up in prison. As well as losing his freedom (rightly), he also lost his job and his marriage. Then he was made bankrupt.
He offered no excuses. He did find forgiveness.
It offered him the chance of a fresh start. As it happens he now uses his skills to support others. He confessed his pride that night, a pride that to me now seemed to be humility.
It reminded me too of another story I once heard, of a woman caught in the act of adultery, for which the penalty at the time was stoning-to-death.
The blood lust of her accusers gave way to self realisation of hypocrisy. One by one her accusers melted away, the oldest first.
Because, as it was pointed out, each had made mistakes; none was flawless. Those of us who are older know that most!
But what of the woman who found no-one left to accuse her? Would she be able to forgive herself too and move on? And how would she then live?