People have been talking about Amanda Todd, a 15 year old girl who took her own life from endless bullying. If you’ve read my blog before you will know I am no stranger to major depression and thoughts of suicide. While I cannot claim to have know this girl, I can attest to how she probably felt. A friend of mine posted a story about her on their Facebook page to bring the story to light for those who may not have heard about it. The following was my reaction.
“This happens to adults as well as children. We are all people and we all make bad decisions every now and then. She did and she knew she did, and for that she was cast out of society until she couldn’t take it anymore. A perfect adult example of this is what has happened and is happening with Michael Vick. The guy screwed up big time and for that, he went to jail. He repaid his debt to society, yet people still bash him and ridicule him, and sadly it will probably always be that way. It’s this sort of mentality that destroys people. A person makes one or two mistakes in their lives and they are never able to live it down. Of course, this 15 year old girl had more of an excuse than Vick, but the situations are still similar. Yes, he was a grown man and she was just a kid. Still, we are mere spectators in most of these situations and we need to stop being so judgmental. We are no one to judge others. None of us. We’ve all made mistakes in our lives. Until we can realize that everyone in one way or another is screwed up, this will continue to happen.”
I was in no way making excuses for what Michael Vick did. He knows he made a huge mistake and for that he was sent to jail and dismissed from the NFL. There is no way he can bring back the lives of the animals he took, but to assume he can never fully redeem himself is selfish on the part of society. In some people’s eyes, anything he may be doing or might do in the future to try to redeem himself will never be enough. That’s unfair. The same can be said for this little girl. She made a huge mistake by showing off her body and letting herself be photographed. Still, it was the mistake of a person with very little wisdom and no grasp on the long term repercussions of her actions. She screwed up. Everyone screws up. We all don’t do the exact same things this girl did, but we do eventually make a bad decision. Maybe we do something dumb like not keeping up with our children or maybe we start gambling away all our money. Maybe we get into drugs or start drinking too much.
If a drunk can find redemption, then so can this little girl. So can Michael Vick. I’ve had my run ins with drunks and suffice it to say, they were not the greatest of times in my life. The same can be said of those with drug problems. These people that have directly affected my life made mistakes just like Michael and Amanda did. Yet, here I am, having forgave those people for their actions.
I find it remarkably disturbing that so many people find it so hard to forgive. I find it even worse that so many people that had nothing to do with those mistakes somehow feel justified in condemning not the mistakes themselves, but the people who made them. What’s done is done. We cannot change that. There is no secret time machine where we can somehow go back into the past and correct our mistakes. Sure, the people who screwed up would surely like to do just that, but it’s simply not an option. All these people can do is seek atonement. It is up to them and if they sincerely wish to atone for their sins, we should be able to find it in our hearts to forgive them and maybe even offer them help to achieve that goal.
I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care what religion you follow, what political group to ally yourself with, or what color your skin is. Not a single one of us has any right to pass judgment on anyone else. We have all screwed up. Some more than others, but not one of us is innocent. If a person is truly remorseful for their trespass, we should do our best to let go of any hate or anger that developed from that indiscretion. As the old saying goes, hate begets hate. Anger begets anger. Forgiveness, compassion, love…well, they help to heal.
Amanda Todd – gone too soon – Rest in Peace.