Forgiveness, is Not Putting Bernie Madoff in Charge of Your Finances

When did forgiveness turn into a scapegoat for bad people doing bad deeds?

Forgiveness is, letting go of hurt feelings, not wishing bad things to happen to the forgiven, and wishing good for them. But that last part, seems to be misinterpreted by a lot of people. What’s good for someone isn’t usually what they want. Veggies are good for kids, if you want what’s best for them, you make them eat veggies.

So why do people, under the excuse of ‘forgiveness’, ignore common sense, and put people back into the same position? That is not forgiveness. Say a dog attacked another dog, and the law stated the dog had to go through rehabilitation training before it could be around other dogs. However, the people decided to be ‘forgiving’ and just let the dog go. The dog then ran into another dog, and attacked it as well.

Is this shocking behavior? No. People will give other people chance, after chance, after chance, thinking this is the meaning of forgiveness. Not only are they encouraging bad behaviors, each time they are more hurt, frustrated, and confused that the person would repeat the offense.

Say Sally’s co-worker, Mary, is late to work, and it’s Sally’s job to tell her supervisor about it. However, Mary showed remorse, apologized, and promised it wouldn’t happen again. Sally felt like being ‘nice’ so she didn’t report it. However, the next week it happened again. This time Mary said if Sally told, she would tell their boss about Sally disobeying company rules the week before. Sally was shocked. She was just being nice, and look what it got her. However, she was actually encouraging/promoting Mary’s negative behavior. Which typically will embolden the transgressor (Mary) and make them worse. Though, it will probably not progress that fast. The ‘nice’ act was also not done for the benefit of Mary, but for Sally’s benefit. Sally didn’t want to feel the negative feeling of guilt. Thus, she didn’t do the right thing, but eased her conscience by saying she was really being nice.

Or, how about Andy cheats on Sam. Sam has never seen Andy so upset/regretful. Andy grovels, and begs, and pleads for Sam to forgive him. So Sam does, and then it happens again, (refer to dog example), and yet Sam is mad at Andy. Why? Common sense would say that’s to be expected. Yet countless people ‘forgive’ and give their partners another chance. If there are no consequences, however, the negative actions will not be corrected. That’s why there are rules, regulations, and procedures.

If police only pulled people over to tell them to stop speeding (no other punishment), people would just keep speeding, (they would stop pulling over too). If someone lies to their significant other, and the only thing that happens is their partner gets mad, and then ‘forgives’ them. Whose the foolish one in the relationship, (refer back to police car example).

A second chance is not forgiveness. A smaller punishment is not forgiveness. These simply hurt the offender. When a person is allowed to keep lying/cheating/breaking the law, they are the one who comes out worse off. Think about the kid who never eats veggies. So the next time someone asks for ‘forgiveness’ look into what they are really asking for. For you to hope they get what’s best for them? Or for you to let their transgressions slide? For you to love/care about them? Or for you to stop being mad at them?

Analyze it carefully. Think about what would be in their best interest. Then say you forgive them, and their consequences are….

Because in the long run, veggies are better than candy.

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