Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mistakes happen, so should forgiveness

The posts have been lacking recently, but this one has been coming for a while. In fact, this one may be the most difficult I've ever made. Tomorrow is Easter, and I'm not sure everything will tie in but I'm going to try. The analogies may be slightly off, although I'm not intending to justify actions. However, since I'm neither a judge or jury I hold myself to the same standards. We ALL need forgiveness, which is where I'm going to start.

I'm a sinner, and so are you, and your father, mother, brother, and everyone you've ever made. Mistakes happen. People do things they aren't proud of, and regret them after the fact. I talk before I think, I act before I plan, and I judge without merit. Unfortunately, man has bias toward certain actions. Everyone has a moral relativism that skews their perceptions. An idea that "I've done this," but "I haven't done THAT." Passing judgement is nothing new, but pride goes before a, often hypocritical and embarrassing, fall. We've all heard the stories of the preacher cheating on his wife, the anti-drug crusader with the pain medicine addiction, or the author who makes up his 'autobiography.' Mistakes, yes, but all essentially the same. Sure, certain people hold some things as more severe, but who are they to judge? Let's face it, we all, if left to save ourselves, would be headed for hell. Luckily, our mistakes are washed away and forgiven if we accept Jesus as our savior. Some nails, a cross, and 3 days saved mankind. We got the ultimate second chance without having to do anything. It didn't cost man anything: no money, no jail time, no sacrifice, and certainly not death. Those who believe, regardless of past deeds, have their slates wiped clean. That's right. If you were a murderer, rapist, any other sinner, you can repent ask Jesus to be your savior and you're forgiven. With the idea being that you will turn from your past actions, especially those who have committed crimes, and seek God's will. This does not mean that you won't have to live with the earthly consequences of your actions: jail time, fines, etc. However, in the eyes of the Lord you're just as much a sinner as the pastor, priest, or any other 'spiritual' individual. You've been given a second chance, you're loved, and yes you will still sin. Mistakes never go away, but they can becomes less frequent, severe, and likely to produce massive guilt. Jesus removes the guilt, the shame, and the death. Yes, all men will die, but where you spend eternity is a product of your soul. If you believe in Jesus' death, resurrection, and forgiveness from sins then you'll be 'alive' in Heaven, or if not 'dead' in Hell. Regardless, as long as you're physically alive it's never too late to ask for this eternal life, even if you've made a billion mistakes. Unfortunately, mankind seems incapable of removing stigma, as God does. I think we could, but I think a self-righteous sense of 'morality' gets in the way. A great irony perhaps, considering the way men force women into situations and the expectations they claim not to hold. Why can man not resist the urge to pass judgement and opt instead for understanding? I know I'm not God, and neither is anyone else, but we're suppose to imitate Christ. Most of us do an extremely terrible job, which encourages certain situations and problems to continue to flourish.

Disguised motives harm mankind, maybe more than anything else. This may seem biased in favor of women, but I'm not going to pretend this problem doesn't exist. Men on a routine basis force women into situations that later cause them to be judged. Much of this happens in relationships, the idea that "if you don't do this you don't love me." Not only does this play off fear and a position of power, it also is designed to induce guilt and a desired course of action. Things cut both ways, but mean tend to be more concerned with physical aspects of life. Usually this physical aspect is sex, which men force, either explicitly or through guilt, on women. As a result, many girls get trapped in relationships, because they fear that a guy will leave if they say no. Then when it ends the girl, rightly so, feels used, and is fearful to trust again. To make matters worse, an interesting dichotomy emerges. Some girls stop trying to find 'good' guys, because they feel like they'll be judged by them. While others keep hope, but at the same time continue to fall for the 'love 'em then leave 'em' types. After a while, no one is willing to give anyone a second chance. Forgiveness goes out the window, along with trust, respect, and the rest of what use to be there. Of course guys make the problem worse by being exactly who they're accused of being. It's interesting how guys are encouraged to get with and lie to as many girls as possible, while girls who do the same thing are stigmatized as sluts, whores, or other similar terms. Apparently, mistakes have different meanings, or may not even be mistakes, depending on who they refer to. In addition, to really make things worse many girls aren't offered encouragement, understanding, or the opportunity to change, just judgement and stigma. The cycle carries on, some girls withdraw and trust no one, others keeping trusting and continue to be hurt. Love is replaced by sex, and the idea that you won't get the first without the latter. Girls give in, because everyone is scared they'll die alone. Feeling regret, shame, or disgust comes later, and by then it's too late to take it back. It gets hard to change, because once you start doing something it's difficult to stop. Trust disappears and pain settles in. But there's still hope.

Just as Jesus gave us a second chance, a second life, people deserve a second change. I will not judge, because I'm guilty of judgement myself. One mistake is no more severe than another. Guys need to stop making so many, if they ever want to find a girl. Any guy who forces a girl into something is part of the problem, never part of the solution. True love, care, and devotion come from sacrifice not force or will. Guys who truly care will not force things on girls, they'll respect them and take their own will out of the picture. Those who trust you won't judge you for your past, or assume it'll become your future. Mistakes happen, and it's never too late to change or follow a new path. It's hard to trust again, but it becomes easier when you try to first. We all need rescuing, and Jesus has done that on the cross. Unfortunately, some seem to have forgotten that they aren't perfect. Temptation comes in a multitude of forms, and resisting is never a simple process. But it's possible when we seek to do Jesus' will and not our own. Put your will behind the will of others, we are here to serve not be served. Guys that are all about themselves deserve to be unsatisfied and alone. If a girl says no, a guy should respect that regardless of his will. Disguised motives will shine through when given time. Honesty should be fundamental, not a courtesy or something that has to be asked for. I make my own share of mistakes. All I ask is that someone can accept my own faults and weaknesses. I won't judge you, if you don't judge me. This is how things should be. Girls deserve a higher standard of guy, who won't treat them like property, a conquest, or complete crap. We should be something worth trusting, that won't judge, and isn't looking just to 'score.' Everybody needs a second chance, a little bit of love, and some honest compassion. Girls don't give up, there are guys out there, yes they're real, that can restore your trust. If God can save us, the most undeserving beings, then we can give our own a second chance. Happy Easter everybody!

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