This has been on my mind lately. I don’t think Americans are very forgiving people, as much as some would claim they are. We’re altogether too eager to write someone off if they don’t satisfy us in 30 seconds or less as a complete failure. We do not forgive and forget, as the phrase goes. We nurse our grudges, we feed our resentments by taking out our anger on other people.

Human beings are naturally prone to mistakes. If we didn’t make any kind of mistakes, I don’t think we’d be human anymore. We make bad choices at times, bad decisions, things we will regret for the rest of our lives. Yet some of us think that if one person makes an awful choice, they are forever unworthy of ay kind of redemption, respect, even love. When we ‘turn the other cheek‘, I don’t necessarily think it’s weakness. It means you are strong enough to take another blow and remain standing. Despite incredible hardship, people CAN survive, people can keep going. Maybe they have a certain quality within themselves that keeps them going.

I think of people living with AIDS, and how some of them got the disease from bad choices. Maybe some never learned their lesson from getting infected and keep living a self-destructive life, but I wouldn’t classify all victims like that. How many were too scared to find out? How many just had no idea? Is it fair to blame every person who acquires the disease as ‘they deserved it’? No. People can learn from their mistakes, people can turn those tragedies into  educational experiences, to teach others how to make their own lives better, to not make the mistakes people before have done.

I can’t always condemn people outright for things done. I don’t have the knee-jerk mentality others do, that once something is done it can never be taken back. I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life, but those mistakes should not define WHO and WHAT I am. Just like everyone else. There are always exceptions.There will always be people that go beyond the rules, but those are the not the majority and should not be used as the standard to judge everyone. There are people in my life I will not forgive, because of what they’ve done to me. They knew when they did those things to me that they intended to hurt me and they weren’t sorry for it. There are some things that cannot be forgiven.

Maybe what I’m hoping for is that people will learn to become less judgemental of others. It’s not one’s looks that define someone; it’s their spirit. It’s not their faith that automatically declares them as a better person, it’s what they DO in the world that really matters. Our bodies should not define whether we are good or bad people, but what we do for others that define it.