Would you give someone a second chance? Most people would like to think they do; but actually our society is very close minded and tunnel visioned. Would you befriend a murderer, or engage with someone who committed a crime?
Most people live in denial as far as our true identities are concerned. We won’t readily admit to personality inadequacies and provide intricately woven manipulations to defend our misguided thoughts or actions. In short, our nature and culture have molded us into very magnanimous hypocrite; telling ourselves we can give second chances when in fact we can’t or don’t.
A Second chance entails redoing something in a different capacity. Were you ever given the liberty to redo an action that resulted in a mistake or rethink a decision that resulted in an unfavorable outcome? Giving second chances implies forgiveness, a toleration most people are not ready or equipped to give. We teach ourselves that it is invaluable to forgive and it is of virtuous character yet fail when we try to attain and apply this virtue.
Recently I was on a blog that asked if you would get married to someone who had a history of cheating. What were the circumstances that resulted in the cheating action? How would the decision to marry be effected if the cheater cheated only once, was caring and loving, cheated on all his partners, or cheated on only his most recent partner? So even though the circumstances under which the negative behavior was acted must be considered; who doesn’t have a history? Some worse than others, but no one has a clean slate. Everyone has a propensity to engage in some adverse behavior, but forgiving the bad behavior can result in changing the behavior.
If everyone judges a person on their past behavior society will go nowhere. People can change, but if we don’t give each other a second chance there will be no reason for us to understand or act differently. If for example a person commits a petty theft, will the label of Thief be applied regardless of the circumstances? And if this label is applied to this person and he has no chance of retribution will he not continue to act in this manner? Words are not empty vehicles.