Copyright November 7, 2008 3:24 AM CST
By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti
Updated January 9, 2009 6:22 PM CST
Copyright January 9, 2009 6:22 PM CST
By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti
First, you might wonder why we are addressing the subject of “disgrace recovery.” The answer, primarily, is that, today, there are millions of people, especially, young people, who are ruining their lives with information, comments, and pictures they are posting on the Internet.
Now, we won’t load you up with a lot of fluff but will, instead, get straight to the point. Here is what you must do:
1. First, you must decide to never engage in the disgraceful act again or to never resume the disgraceful way of living. Note that it does not matter whether your decision is firm or not, whether it is serious or lighthearted. We will explain this in the next item.
2. The power to do the right thing is available to anyone who is faithful, persistent, in doing the right thing and this power grows the longer you do the right thing. Now, we “believe-know” (that is, “believe as a result of the consideration of facts”) that this power comes from God but we are not asking you to join a religion or a church. At the very minimum, you must realize that:
Moral power comes from somewhere outside of yourself.
Now, you may not believe that this power comes from God but you must believe that it comes from somewhere outside of yourself. If you do not believe this, there is no hope for you. Now, we recommend that you read elsewhere on our website to learn the host of reasons why we believe-know that moral power comes from God.
3. For the handful of you who do not believe in God, note that we have the responsibility to help the greatest number of people in the shortest period of time. Therefore, from this point on, our frame of reference will be God and his working in people's lives. We leave it to you to extract the knowledge and wisdom you need to get the help that you need. The Lord, in his mercy, provides help even to agnostics and atheists.
a. So, where are we? If you have been following are advice, you have:
1) Decided to not repeat the mistakes of the past.
2) Realized that your power to do the right thing comes from God.
3) For those of you who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we add “Ask God for forgiveness.” For those of you who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we say the same. God may still show you mercy and deliver you from your misery. Note that, if he does, this does not mean that he has insulated you from misery in the next life (see Life After Death).
b. Now, we have addressed the spiritual (God) and moral (righteousness) aspects of the “disgrace recovery” problem but this is not enough. We must also address the social aspects of the recovery problem. Note that it is often helpful, in providing a blanket solution, a solution that will work for everyone, to focus on a subset of the problem that you are addressing. Therefore, we have chosen a widespread (and grievous) disgrace to address. This is the problem of millions of people who have disgraced themselves by posting indecent pictures of themselves on the Internet. Note that, if our solution can work for these people, it can work for you.
4. Now, the social aspect of disgrace has several areas that need to be addressed:
a. ITEM 1: What Other People Think of You
b. ITEM 2: What Other People Can Prove About You
c. ITEM 3: What Other People Have the Right To Say About You
d. ITME 4: Restitution
We will address these areas one a time.
5. ITEM 1: What Other People Think of You
a. You must accept the fact that there might be one or more people who will never treat you as a good person again, no matter what you do. You may shed tears over this fact but your tears will end. As far as these people are concerned, you don’t need them.
b. You must accept the fact that any love you might want to show some people will be rejected. Again, you may shed tears over this fact but, again, your tears will end.
c. You may fear that those who reject you will miss out on some good that God intended for them to have. This is a bit tricky to address for here we are dealing with a paradox. A paradox is a situation where two truths contradict each other. In this case, on the one had, yes, they will miss out and, on the other hand, no, they won’t miss out. We will explain. On the one hand, they will miss out because they will not receive the good that you want to provide them. On the other hand, they will not miss out because the Lord will provide the good that they need through someone else. You might be thinking that there is no paradox here but there is. Someone might say “Well, since God is going to provide the good that they need without my help, I don’t have to bother to help them.” This is technically true; however, those who say this fail to see one crucial consideration – they will miss out on the blessing they would have received had they done the good. We could elaborate further on this point but that is beyond the scope of this article and we address this in-depth and exhaustively elsewhere on our website.
6. ITEM 2: What Other People Can Prove About You
a. What can anyone prove about you? Well, for the “indecent picture” problem, they have the pictures. What in the world can you do about that? This is a serious matter but God has an answer:
1) Realize that God thinks of the solution before he allows the problem. In other words, God has a solution for every problem.
2) Just because God has a solution, this does not mean that he will give you the solution.
(a) God does not give solutions or as many solutions to people who care only about themselves. Note that we didn’t say “who care about themselves.” People are supposed to care about themselves. However, people are supposed to care about others, as well. Note those words “as well.” In other words:
(1) We are not to live our lives thinking only about ourselves.
(2) We are not to live our lives thinking only about others.
(3) We are to live our lives thinking about both ourselves and others.
(b) You don’t have to “feel good” about thinking about others. You just have to do it.
3) Now, what about the “physical evidence,” the pictures? There is no denying physical evidence. WRONG!!!
Physical evidence only has as much power as God allows it to have.
The evidence for this truth is abundant, though not necessarily widely known. For example, during the cold war years, the old Soviet Union forbade foreigners from bringing in Bibles. However, on one occasion, one of a million such stories, a Christian minister went through customs with a load of Bible in plain sight…and the Soviet customs agents, looking directly at the Bibles, never saw the Bibles. Now, for those who don’t believe in such miracles, consider this:
Truth is based on proof. Proof is based on perception. Perception is based on “unconscious faith in one’s physical senses.” Therefore, ultimately, all perception, all proof, and all knowledge rests on a kind of faith.
Since everything rests on faith, the only way that anything can have absolute power to persuade is if the object of one’s faith – in this case, the human mind – is trusted. Now, who controls this trust?
Now, note the wisdom of God. He has not give us a rule whereby we can say “God will always ‘make the evidence disappear,’” but he does promise that, if we do the right thing, he will make the evidence disappear. Note that God has more than one way to make things disappear. He can physically destroy the evidence. But, there is something else he can do. He can “transform the evidence.” How does he do this? There are many ways but we will cite just one:
Every piece of evidence has a counterpart.
For example, I once went to a restaurant and was “mistaken for someone else.” I was told by the waitress, “You look exactly like a guy that comes in here every Monday.” There is a whole body of knowledge underlying the subject of “correct identification.” Suffice it to say, in human terms; that is, this isn’t true but things work as if it were true:
Evidence is only evidence if you say it is evidence.
However, lest you go off on a tangent and think you can get away with anything because you will always say “there is no evidence,” God has given certain people, like judges, the power to overrule your “power to hide evidence.” Outside of the court room, however, God enforces this principle; that is, again:
Evidence is only evidence if you say it is evidence.
Now, there will be some of you who will need more help on this point. We will be providing this help when we have the opportunity to do so.
So, getting back to our main point for this segment of our discussion, what are you to do about the physical evidence – the indecent pictures?
When the pictures are shoved in your face, say, calmly and casually:
Unless you are in a court of law, and even there God sometimes overrules the judge, no one can prove that the pictures are pictures of you. In addition, and this is crucial:
Be relentless in your denial! Make no exceptions! We repeat, make no exceptions!
WARNING: Now, remember: God only necessarily enforces these principles for those who seek a “spirit of community”; that is, those who seek good both for themselves and for others and his enforcement has limits – in most, but not all, cases, he will not enforce these principles in a court of law.
7. ITEM 3: What Other People Have the Right To Say About You
What do people have the right to say about you? Well, there are rules in a civilized society. Some of these rules are laws. Some of these rules are “common beliefs.” For example, in America, as Americans, we share the common belief in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” One common belief, as it applies to this discussion is:
Don’t stick your nose in my business.
As it applies to “disgrace recovery,” this means that people have the right to say only so much. Specifically:
· If they are mere spectators, they have no right to say anything.
· If they are family members or friends who have felt embarrassment and humiliation, they have the right to say “Don’t do that.”
· If they are people that you work with, they have no right to say anything, as long as you have not brought your actions into the workplace.
· If they are people that you do business with, they have no right to say anything, as long as you have not brought your actions into your business dealings.
· If they are people who live in your neighborhood, they have no right to say anything, as long as you have not brought your actions into your neighborhood.
· If they are people at your school, they have no right to say anything, as along as you have not brought your actions into your school.
Now, with indecent Internet pictures, you have brought your actions into the whole world. Therefore, people will have the right to say something but their right will be limited to one thing. They can say:
Now, you will have to accept the fact that there are many childish and immature people out there. Therefore, you will, almost certainly, not be treated fairly. That is a part of the price you have to pay for your actions. The good news is that this unfair treatment will not last forever and, more important, God gives strength and encouragement to those who turn from their past bad behavior and seek to do the right thing. The Lord may provide this strength and encouragement through your family and/or through a good church or other Christian organization. Also, there are many caring and sympathetic people who provide professional help to people with problems like yours; for example, Christian (pneumiatric) psychologists. Note that we recommend, if you can find help nowhere else, good psychologists even if they are not overtly Christian and/or overtly pneumiatric.
8. ITEM 4: Restitution
Restitution is “paying people back what you owe them as a family member, a friend, a Christian, a fellow believer, and a fellow countryman.” For the “indecent picture” problem, this means:
· Telling everyone you should that you are sorry for the embarrassment and humiliation you have caused them, whether or not they will believe you.
· Telling everyone you should that you have changed your ways, whether or not they will believe you.
· Doing everything in your power to destroy the pictures.
· Taking anyone to court who will not remove the pictures from the Internet. There are incredible legal and extralegal remedies available in this regard. Note that, in this case, you do not only sue them for “having the pictures out there”; you also sue them for “claiming that the pictures are pictures of you.” Your lawsuit is about “libel and slander.”
We have much, much, much more we can tell you. The key thing to remember is this:
You will find a solution if you keep searching for it!
There is no sin too great for God to forgive and no problem too big for God to solve!
One footnote to the few reckless individuals out there who think that, now that they have learned what we have taught in this article…that they can get away with anything:
God will NOT enforce the principles you have read in this article if you go too far! People will know the truth about you! Do not be foolish! Instead, make sure…that…people…will be able to say about you…in years to come…as the aged knight said about Indiana Jones…“He chose wisely.”
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