Breaking The Cycle
by Patrick Morley
One day my wife asked me what I was going to speak about at our Bible study the next morning. I said, “I’m going to be talking about repetitive sins.”
She deadpanned, “So I guess you’ll be speaking without notes.”
Guys love it when I tell that story. (So do their wives.) Most of us understand what it means to be gripped by a pattern of destructive behaviors. We’re either stuck in one now and we hate it, or we remember vividly what it was like and we can’t believe how long it took to let go.
My friend Antonio told me, “I was five years into my second marriage before I realized that I didn’t have a clue how to do intimacy or show my wife the respect she deserves. I hurt her so many times. But I was just doing relationships the way I’d seen them happen while growing up.”
Christian men have talked to me about the tyranny of behaviors they hate. They know that, in Christ, they are new creations. But day to day, they live like repeat offenders. Meanwhile, they’re passing brokenness down to the next generationÑoften just like it was passed down to them. After fighting and losing the battle for a long time, it’s hard not to think, I guess that’s just how I am. It’s hard to believe we can break free.
I would describe a man’s deeply felt need in this area like this:
Men have a primal need to break free from the destructive behaviors that keep dragging them down. They are baffled that they can’t break free. And itÕs embarrassing. They desperately want to experience freedom from their bondage to sin. They do their best to manage these behaviors, but what they really want is for the damage to stop. But they feel weak and stuck. Unfortunately, millions of us just don’t know where to turn.
I have good news. That powerful desire to escape from persistent, habitual sins was placed in you by God. With His help, you can break free from the destructive behaviors that keep dragging you down. You can be healed. You can redeem the past. The damage to yourself and others can stop with you.
Own Your Own Stuff
Whatever your broken wing is, whatever keeps dragging you back down into a repeating pattern of sinful behavior, God can mend and transform those areas of your life.
The starting point for cycle breaking is to own your stuff. No doubt the sins against you are real, perhaps tragic. But it’s what you do next that counts. Will you take responsibility for yourself? Will you own the ways you have been repeating or extending the cycle? Will you humble yourself before your Creator and get out of denial? By all means, grieve what could have been. But then you need to take responsibility for what happens next.
Adapted from Man Alive by Patrick Morley Copyright © 2012 by Patrick Morley. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.