Sin generates tragedy. Gerald wept openly in the IHOP as he told me that he had gotten two women pregnant within a month, neither of whom he wanted to marry, and both mothers wanted to keep the baby. He said to me, “Do you know how scary it is to have your behavior out of control?”
It is easy to be preoccupied with your disciple’s destructive behavior and its consequences (How to pay child support for two babies for 18 years?) and miss its cause. The drama of his escapades can become a welcome diversion for both you and your disciple from the more difficult challenge of dealing with the root cause. I say a welcome diversion because to face the cause behind his injurious behavior will require trust, fortitude, perseverance, and courage for both of you.
For you there is the risk of your disciple pushing you away or rejecting you, as you edge closer to the shame that he has covered for years. For the disciple you are asking him to place himself in the vulnerable position of trusting you and the Lord as he faces his greatest fears and most painful memories. Many will choose to continue on the path of destructive behavior, no matter how grave the consequences, rather than to face the cause. The root in most cases is bitterness that is tied to their hurt.
- Expect your disciple to either lash out at you or to disappear as you begin to explore the hurt and fear in his life. This is normal.
- Although you have to deal with the consequences of his behavior, you must also keep a balanced approach of searching for the root cause.
- The process of discovering root causes will take months and years rather than days and weeks.