Over the past several years, a particular quote has been used many times when talking about an individual who has done something wrong in the public eye. The quote “America is a forgiving nation,” and “This is a land of second opportunities” have been bandied all over place.
This is all well and good, but are we “really” forgiving and willing to give a second chance? It’s overused, if you ask me.
In my crazy mind, it does appears that everytime we use those phrases, we really want to know if someone did do something, rather than forgiving them and letting them redeem themselves as individuals after they admit it.
From Larry Eustachy to Kenneth Lay to Tiger Woods, we look at these individuals and to us, they are the scum of the earth. We don’t take their apologies and we sure as hell don’t forgive them. Are they really that bad? Are acts conducted by intention or flawed individuals making choices that are wrong?
Would they treat us the same if we got ourselves into hot water? And don’t give me this “well, I would never get into trouble like them because I won’t do it” excuse. You will get into trouble, whether it embezzling money or torturing man’s best friend. We’re humans, we are going to do something stupid or make serious errors. Do we expect to be forgiven by others, if we are hesitant to forgive others ourselves? As harsh as it sounds, the word hypocrisy reigns true in this dilemma.
It’s an interesting topic to think about internally when trying to decipher if we practice what we preach or use it to get someone to admit their wrongdoing. We would like to give that individual the benefit of a doubt if they make the necessary changes and take responsibility to repair the trust that was broken.
However, there are those who may never forgive, adamant that they are still being wronged years after it took place, amid the apologies, the restitution, and other factors. That type of attitude does have merit, but ultimately it will kill you in the long run. People can be consumed by it so much, that, if not used as a way that can be positive, can be destructive ten times over.
I don’t think we are the “forgiving society” that we claim to be, because we are desensitized to events that take place and the people around us. Be it murder, cheating, Mother Nature wrecking havoc, we think we have seen it all and know what’s going to happen next. We play Sherlock Holmes and try to figure out if someone is contrite and honest about their misgivings, but our skeptical eyes and ears are not satisfied.