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Scandal, Judgement, Forgiveness … and the Lessons Therein

Posted in: Blog by amy on July 25, 2013

I’m not particularly keen on what is happening in politics nor am I particularly interested in New York’s gubernatorial race; however, I am fascinated by the fact that candidate Anthony Weiner (who just admitted to yet another sexting scandal with his dutiful and forgiving wife by his side) is not only staying in the race, but he is apparently retaining the support of many.

Now, “fascinated” is a nice word, whereas maybe I am feeling more disgusted or embarrassed for our political system and for our society as a whole. Hey, it’s great that we are so forgiving and non-judgmental and that we believe so whole-heartedly in the concept of second chances. Let’s not even pick on Weiner right now. We don’t need to judge him (unless we’re living in his district and need to consider voting for him). So, let’s not make this discussion about him specifically. Frankly, I don’t think that he or Eliot Spitzer or even former President Bill Clinton are too worthy of dissecting in terms of their extramarital affairs, public lies or juvenile indiscretions.

More interesting than formulating opinions and judgments about these men is the fact that we so often believe what we want to believe … what we NEED to believe. Maybe we are feeling down and want to hold on to the belief that we are a nation of forgivers — that we give people a second chance. Maybe we have committed our own indiscretions and have sympathy for those in the spotlight.

So, what is going on here? If we step back and hold our heads high and decide that we are not going to judge for various reasons, then there is something else on the table: There is one’s character, one’s ethics, one’s authenticity, one’s truth. Let’s agree, for the sake of this argument, that we will not judge. Okay. But, can we still have working observations and valid perceptions about others? Can we still know who someone is? Can we still make wise decisions about who is worthy of our trust, friendship and love?

It reminds me of some wise words of Maya Angelou’s:

“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

This is such a simple statement, yet it is full of so much weighty truth. Weiner has told us (and he has explicitly SHOWN us) who he is. Yet many people choose to not believe him. They excuse his behavior. They presume he must be a good guy because his wife is remaining by his side. For whatever reason, they see what they want to see rather than what they are actually shown … in vivid color.

courtesy of apopofpretty.com

I believe these news stories and political embarrassments are an opportunity for us to remember what we know, to reflect on the concept of our own knowledge and intuition, to believe that people are who they tell us they are.

Apply this principle to your relationships and to the people you meet. If you are dating a man, and he tells you that he never wants to get married and enjoys being a player, BELIEVE HIM. If your boss tells you that she is never going to retire, yet you believe that she will step aside, it’s time to believe her.

As much as I’m ashamed at the mockery that continues to sneak into our politics, I’m also reminded of our innate desire to forgive … of the ability of people to so easily earn a second chance. But, be careful: Those aren’t necessarily always good things. Maybe we can forgive, but should we really forget? When someone reveals: “Hey, I messed up, and I have messed up on more than one occasion; and I have stupidly portrayed myself as a slimy, lying and even creepy scumbag,” maybe we should BELIEVE HIM!

Like I said, it is great to forgive and, in many instances, it’s great to give someone a second chance. But, at the same time, we must be acutely aware of Angelou’s powerful words, which are worthy of stating once again: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

I know that I will continue to apply that knowledge to people I know and to those whom I have not yet met. I will consider that quote when I am analyzing political candidates, partners, friends and coworkers. I will be paying attention, and when I see those colors shining through, I will not attempt to cover the canvas with my own design.

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2 Responses to “Scandal, Judgement, Forgiveness … and the Lessons Therein”

  1. Sue love says:

    I LOVE this. I agree and as we both know we have given a lot of forgiveness in our lives. When you know something about a person YOU have the choice to stand by them or simply move forward. Love u! I forgive you for having a fabulous body with minimum exercise!! :)))).

  2. amy says:

    You are hysterical, Sue Love!

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