The first thing we must realize is that tough times will come. Jesus never promised us that following Him would be easy, in fact He often said that it would be difficult. So we must first accept this reality so that defeats do not catch us off guard or send us into a tail spin. Next, in our own lives we must make sure we have accountability and support. This way when tough times come we have someone we can talk to about those struggles instead of carrying the burden alone. Because doing things alone leads to burnout and the temptation for all sorts of sin. Plus, we can begin to break things down and decide what our response should be to defeat. For example, if an event does not go as we hoped we can decide if it was poor planning, poor spiritual preparation, a bad idea altogether, or just one of those things and no adjustment is needed on our part. Or, if we do stumble in sin, which will happen, we can quickly deal with that sin before it becomes something that destroys us and our ministry. The other thing we must do is always pray. Always ask God for guidance, clarity, and wisdom and if need be, forgiveness and restoration.
But what about our students? What about when they face defeats and stumble and fall on this journey of the Christian life? In order to understand this I think we need to look at Jesus. And when we see His example I think we realize that it depends on the situation. Sometimes, when people messed up Jesus showed compassion and understanding. Therefore, at times we must do the same. And honestly I think most of us should err towards this side since I am pretty sure many of us lean towards the other end of the spectrum. Which is okay, because at times Jesus brought the hammer down on people and was frustrated with them. So I believe at times we must be straight forward with people and boldly speak truth into our lives. But many times what people need, especially our youth, is compassion and understanding. But we must not be afraid to boldly tell them what they need to hear, if the situation calls for it, because if we remain quiet out of fear of hurting their feelings or fear that they will leave our ministry, we are doing them a disservice and are opening a door to a dangerous path for them spiritually.
Through experience and study of scripture this is what I have found to be best when it comes to dealing with defeat, but how do you deal with defeat both in your life, in your ministry, and the lives of your students?