There is a this popular trend of judging people by what they do in the privacy of their home… or other ‘private’ areas… and those deeds they do in view of the general public for all to see, or not.
These two scenarios do not weigh proportionally. I’m not implying that those “private moments” are inconsequential, or to be held unaccountable. No… Heck no… My point, rather …is this: If one were up to “no-good” a few minutes in a given day, say, even one hour; then measure that against the 23 hours that they are “up-to-good.” And YES, I agree that someone who is up-to-no-good…. constantly… day in and day out…should be dealt with accordingly. And, I’m not talking about ‘major issues involving the LAW of the land. I’m talking about issues between individuals, or maybe even, employees vs employers.
I’m talking about the person who did something, or said something… that one would normally be considered as ‘totally out of character.’ Should that individual be treated the same as the fellow who is consistently… a bad person? Is there not a ‘reasonable’ difference?
For me… I’m all about forgiveness. I’m all about second chances. I say this… God will take care of those moments, or hour lapses… in good judgment… not me. It is said in Romans 12:18-19 – If it is possible on your part, live at peace with everyone. Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
A person within our group of friends… takes this position. If Joe Smith got drunk on the night of his high-school graduation… then, he’s a ‘total drunk.’ Never to be trusted. A marked man… forever. There is ‘no flexibility.’ To me… a tad bit unreasonable, not to mention… unfair.
I judge, if I must, by the totality of one’s life… up to, and including… the point of infraction. I believe that would be part of the reason that most states have a ‘first offender’ statute. Under certain circumstances, the ‘infraction’ is erased from their record.
Wouldn’t it be nice… if we all, in our personal encounters… operate by similar rules of conducts?
Remember the story about Peter asking Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has sinned against him. And, Jesus replied – “seventy times seven” – and then He adds… with a parable about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35).
Of course, there is the age-old problem of…”What if my spouse does something unforgiveable?” Jesus never said forgiving would be easy. He simply said… that we need to forgive, over and over again. There is no recorded caveat that said to forgive only when the other person deserves it …or to forgive if they ask for forgiveness… or forgive … just certain types, or levels of offence. Matthew 6:15 tells us…, “If you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
When it comes to ‘forgiveness’… Remember who it was that ‘died on the cross’ for the SINS of all of mankind….Our Lord Jesus Christ.
It’s DANGEROUS …when we humans start playing…. God.