This year I have observed a startling trend that individuals and couples refuse, “can’t” or more accurately do not want to take ANY responsibility for their poor choices and behaviors that have hurt those they say they love. Now, these people are adults, not children, although you would not know it.
Is the ability to take personal responsibility and seek repentance been lost?
We need to take a journey and find it.
Let’s look at 7 words that begin with the letter “R” that compare and contrast this journey from regret to restoration.
- Regret: Oftentimes, this person is deeply regretful but regretful for…getting caught. They may regret you feel the way you do, but that is your problem not theirs. They may have guilt that they did a bad thing. They are, oftentimes, filled with pride and arrogance. This person is not teachable and usually entitled.
- Remorse: This person may show a great deal of tears and emotion. A person filled with remorse may repent and ask for forgiveness as well as say the will change, but hurtful behaviors remain. They will accuse, blame, criticize and flip responsibility onto the other person, partner or spouse. This person is still in bondage.
- Responsibility: A person who begins to take responsibility starts to make “I” statements, as they move away from “you” or “they” did this to me or made me do it. The person begins to take ownership of what they did. They welcome correction, feedback, and accountability which creates reliability and trustworthiness in their broken relationships.
- Repentance: Now that the person is beginning to take personal responsibility, there is a confession, an owning of what they have done. There is a genuine penance and brokenness‑a true sorrow. This is different than remorse, as you will see new changed behaviors over time that are consistently consistent. Mercy, grace, and forgiveness can now be given.
- Resolve: Now that the person is beginning to understand the power of repentance, a new freedom and joy is experienced. They have resolve to pursue other broken relationships. They begin to have integrity, as they do the right thing regardless how others accept or reject this changed person. They have a new determination, tenacity, firmness and fortitude.
- Reconciliation: Now, the person is pressing into their spouse and loved ones, as they seek to reconcile by taking ownership of their hurtful words and behaviors. They want to settle old accounts. They have a new understanding of the power of taking personal responsibility. There is no compromise to bring back together and reunite what was once broken.
- Restoration: Now, the person can walk together with their loved one in honesty. Trust over time is reestablished and rebuilt. It is now fully repaired even stronger than before. A new depth of love is discovered. New hurts will occur as well as the need to take responsibility once again and repent, as the journey begins again. It is now a journey they have taken before and can process through again. Furthermore, they now eagerly want to take willing individuals with them to help set them free from the bondage they were once in.
This inability to repent and take responsibility as individuals is a death sentence to any and every personal or professional relationship anyone of us will ever be in. We are an offended, deceived and addicted [Read the book Offended, Deceived Addicted by Cory & Kerry Schortzman] nation of individuals who are in great need to take personal responsibility by stepping out of our selfishness and repenting for our actions that have hurt others and our Creator. This is and will always be the only way to any change and restore an individual, couple, community or nation.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.