The Gross National Debt

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Asking the hard questions

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Lemme start this with a bit of news:

A petition is going around asking that Michael Vick be banned from the Jets spring training. Full disclaimer - I do not care about professional sports at all. All I know of MV is that he plays pro football (not sure what position) and served time for dog fighting.

So my questions:

1) At what point do we forgive?

2) At what point do we say a person has been punished enough?

3) At what point do we allow a person charged with, convicted of and punished for wrongdoing to move on with his life?

SOME ANSWERS

On Question 1, some people will say never. Why?

Wikipedia gives the following definition for forgiveness: Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offence from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship).

Forgiving, to me, means moving on. It means you are not going to carry a burden someone else placed on you. Dunno about you, but I have enough to worry about just in what I do. I do not need the unnecessary burden of dwelling on what someone did to me.

If you can't forgive, it means you will go to your grave resenting what someone else did. Don't know about you, but I don't need hate in my life. It sours everything else I try to be and want to do.

Just briefly and only briefly, every major in the world today lists forgiving others as a central tenet of belief.  For my Christian/Muslim/Jewish friends, I point out you cannot be a Christian/Muslim/Jewish if you cannot forgive, no matter what the offense.

On Question 2, I suppose an answer could be "there is no punishment sufficient."

Not even death? Not even a painful drawn-out and lingering death? Not even making the person spend the rest of his life in prison?

I point out to you a dead person is incapable of affecting the living, as best we know. If you continue to not forgive a dead person, then you are just affecting yourself. See above.

If a person has paid his fine, served his time, given the restitution as required and met your other requirements for punishment, then I suggest you are required to forgive. If not, then you are breaking your promise.

The other person now has a justifiable case against you.

That's a neat segue into Question 3.

If a person has done everything humanly possible, then who are you to say more is needed? What gives you the right to demand more when nothing more can be offered?

Lemme close with this:

If someone could gather irrefutable evidence of everything you've done wrong and present that to a judge, where would you be today? Would you ask forgiveness? Have you ever been forgiven? Have you ever granted forgiveness? Have you ever asked to be forgiven and had that request rejected?

If you did everything you could to make things right and someone said "I cannot forgive you," how would you feel?

Just some thoughts on a Thursday morning.

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