There ARE two sides to every story.
After the Dateline episode aired, I stayed up until well after 2:30 in the morning responding to social media messages, emails and contact forms sent from my website. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support from women I had never met. Women who told me, “you are telling MY story.” Women who called me brave and honest.
I basked in the good will and avoided reading comments on the Dateline site. I felt validated that my story needed to be heard and the women who needed to hear it were listening.
A week after the story aired, this message popped up on my website:
And you know what – she is also correct. I did humiliate, betray and abandon my husband and my children do feel shame towards me.
The Broken Toby would have melted into a blubbering blob, crushed by shame and drowning in guilt.
The Healing Toby read this message and immediately felt sorrow – for the woman who wrote it. I’m so glad I no longer dwell in her narrow view of the world.
We all make mistakes. And we are NOT our worst mistake. We have value even if our past actions do not seem worthy of value. That’s the beauty of God’s gift to us all.
At first I thought I would delete her comment after reading it, but I’ve decided to share it instead. Don’t let someone else’s judgement of you stop you from moving forward boldly.
“Let he who be without sin throw the first stone.” John 8:7
I know we all make mistakes. I also believe that everyone deserves a second chance. I am happy for you that you are above allowing comments like that to have a negative effect on you.
Praise be to Jesus Christ who died and raise again, thius giving us healing and hope
Hello Rainy … I just wanted to thank you for your post! It affected me in a very personal way because a man once told me that people could throw stones at me. It was one of the worst things anyone has ever said to me. It cut so deep that I still have scars from it. I don’t think people realize how damaging verbal & emotional abuse is. I hope your post reminds everyone that no one is “perfect” & we all need God’s grace!
Praise God, for the person you are today! You have strength to rise above your past. And courageously share your story to help others find their way before traveling a troubled road. God has indeed blessed you, Toby
Thank you so much Jeannie!
After reading your story following the conclusion of the Dateline piece I needed more. I found myself here and have saved a few of your most profound statements. They are (paraphrased):
“We all make mistakes. And we are NOT our worst mistake. We have value even if our past actions do not seem worthy of value…Don’t let someone else’s judgement of you stop you from moving forward boldly…There are, always, two sides to every story. I choose the glorious side…”
The worst that I can say about myself as a ‘believer’ is that I define myself as agnostic. The best I can say is that I’m a conflicted part-time believer. But I don’t live my life in those terms. I simply believe in caring about all living beings…in compassion and empathy, and in reaching out to help in any way I can.
At 78 I have come to the conclusion that animals are in more peril than humans and also more deserving of help. I wish my life had taken me in your path towards helping animals through the prison training program which thankfully has been duplicated in many prisons throughout the country.
Not only do the thousands of homeless dogs who get euthanized as well as the thousands who fill the overpopulated shelters need halp, but cats as well. And then there is the fact that the world is losing entire species due to loss of habitat, poaching, etc.
The plight of all animals of all species is in our hands. That’s what keeps me awake at night. We can’t keep humans from harming or killing others or from poisoning our planet either figuratively or literally. But we can help animals, who mean us no harm. That is my undying message to humankind, and will be my dying message.
We are not our worst mistake. I aspired to be a perfect person like those that judge us so harshly but then I realized I am perfect in my God’s eyes. He forgave me for every mistake I made as long as I confessed to Him.
Our message from the mess we were is that we are worthy and Blessed and no matter what we’ve done if we strive for better each day than we we yesterday we can attrack others that need to believe in their worth and Blessings.
Our job is to love everyone and be supportive then we can be of help to someone hurting instead of their punisher.
Toby, thank you for your courage to tell your story! I know you are impacting many women’s lives, like you have mine. One day God is going to say to you “well done thy faithful servant”!