–Jerry Hancock

The incident involving John Edwards reminds us how easy it is to have a “private self” that is different from the public one we present to everyone else. What makes this particularly sad is that Edwards was taking contributions from people representing himself as something he was not–a trustworthy, morally upright and honest person. Worse, he was talking about the need for strong moral convictions for Americans. Now his political career is very questionable and his image is soiled forever.

In the recent Men in Balance survey, we asked churchgoing men to respond to the statement “I have no serious dark side that I would never want exposed.” Most (76%) were able to say they agree or strongly agree with that statement–and that is good. But it also means that nearly one fourth of us couldn’t respond positively!

In a few weeks, I’ll introduce you to a man who went to prison because of his “private life” that only he and a few others knew about. He can never recover the damage to his family and his career, but he is now coaching others facing prison for similar issues as a way of seeking some redemption.

Segmenting Our Lives

Many of us can somehow “segment” our lives and find ways to justify (we think) living one way while proclaiming to be something else. For example, we are church leaders but hooked on computer porn or involved in affairs. What is up with that?

This week’s question…

This week, think about the inconsistencies in your own life–and what risks you are taking with those. Is it worth it? What would be the consequences if your entire list of activities from, say, last week was known to literally everyone? Anything you wouldn’t want on the front page of the local section?

We can develop trusting male friendships which hold us accountable. We can give each other permission to ask of us, “Have you been involved in anything in the last month which would embarrass you or cause damage to your family?” Are you brave enough to create an accountability partner to provide that type of mutual support? Agreed, that is not easy. But it is easier than facing the glare of being found out to be something you are not.


Jerry Hancock, Executive Director Of Men In Balance, Inc.