I remember the day so clearly. He was a Youth Pastor and musician at a church not too far from mine. I was a junior in college and an aspiring media professional looking to start applying what I had been learning about public relations to the gospel music industry. He had just launched a gospel music production company that he was seeking to promote. It just seemed right that we work together, and so we did. He was in his thirties and engaged to be married soon. I was about 19 and viewed him as somewhat of a mentor that I could trust. Everything seemed to be going well, but was until one Saturday morning in April.
We were on Blackberry Messenger going over a few details for an upcoming event when all of a sudden he changed the subject. We went from business to some very unprofessional chatter where he wound up making a round about pass at me by telling me that he had planned to play an April Fools trick on me, but kind of changed his mind. He was going to tell me that he was sexually attracted to me as a “joke,” and as things became more and more awkward via BBM, he proceeded to probe for what my response would have been. You know, to low-key see if he had a chance, even though he was engaged and someone I was supposed to look up to.
I was floored. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing because I had surely grown to view him as an older brother. My feelings were hurt and I guess I expected more from a brother in Christ and someone operating in the office of “Youth Pastor.” But, I suppose that is where I went wrong.
What I learned from this experience is that although you may have much admiration and respect for a person, it doesn’t make them any less human and we are all flawed in one way or another. But, how do you get past a situation such as this one? How do you deal when someone you respect lets you down?
Realize they’re human - No one walking this earth is perfect, and while the person in question’s behavior may have thrown you for a loop, it is important to note that they’re flesh and blood just like you and are prone to make mistakes. Of course, we wish they’d have better judgment, but things happen, so I would recommend thinking hard about it all before totally cutting that person off or counting them out.
Tell them how you feel - I am guilty of not doing this as much as I should, but telling someone how their behavior has affected you can assist in getting the burden off of your chest, in informing the person that their behavior isn’t desired, and helping the two of you move forward.
Forgive - There’s no use in walking around holding a grudge or walking around with a chip on your shoulder due to someone else’s misconduct or poor judgment. Even if you decide to distance yourself from them, forgive them in your heart.
Witnessing a person whom you hold in high regard or that you once placed on a pedestal in an unflattering light can be a difficult pill to swallow, but it is best to use it as a learning experience and make up your mind that you will not be broken by the experience. Understand that they’re human and that while you can have a lot of respect for them, you shouldn’t take it so personally if and when they disappoint you.
Have you ever been let down by someone you respected? How did you react?