I think one of the most important things I’ve learned as an adult is how important it is to admit when I’m wrong. To apologize and to take responsibility for my bad judgment.
You don’t see much of that going around these days. No one likes to admit when they’ve made a mistake. Even if it was an accident or just a misunderstanding, if somebody has to take the “blame” nobody steps up. Just watch one episode of Judge Judy and you’ll see what I mean. People think that “accident” means “I’m not responsible.”
I guess it’s because we live in such a litigious society. The risk of losing everything over even a small mistake has become so very high. Or maybe it’s because we take so much sheer pleasure in excoriating our enemies publicly. Self-vindication is everyone’s goal whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of a perceived wrong.
For all the “christianity” (small “c”) running rampant in America these days there’s an appalling lack the two things at the core of Christian faith. Penitence and Forgiveness.
Let’s take one of my favorite villains, our President of questionable moral virtue. As much as we scream for truth and accountability -- what would we do if POTUS actually turned around and gave it to us? We’d crucify him if the truth is anywhere near what we suspect. And if I’m being honest with myself, I’d be in the crowd screaming for blood.
Forgiveness is essential if I’m to practice what I preach. But that’s not to disregard accountability. Taking responsibility for your sins is just as important as acknowledging them. But I don’t know I’d be as focused on what he planned to do to right his wrongs as I would be on howling triumphantly from the rooftops “I KNEW IT! YOU SEE!!!”
It’s more import that I be RIGHT, and less important that he admits that he was WRONG.
But that is the truth. That is me admitting my failing. Now how do I take responsibility for it? Maybe just writing this admission is a first step to righting my self-righteous ideology. I will still demand the truth from my government. I will still fight for equality and human rights, but what happens after the battle. What do I do with the truth when I win it? And with justice when it’s secured? Do I lord it over those who hang their heads in shame and defeat? Or do I let them win back their honor by taking responsibility for their mistakes and learning to respect the rights of those they once trampled. Is that enough? If not, can going to prison with it’s dishonorable connotation, become an act of honor-restoration in the serving of a sentence?
Which is best for our society? For our country? Perhaps more intimately -- which speaks more highly of my character when it satisfies my soul?