Recently it was revealed that a noted family value Republican was a client of the latest Washington Madam. This raises an interesting question about forgiveness.
It might be thought that he should not be forgiven-after all, you should not be seeing prostitutes when you are married (and probably when you are not). But, we all make mistakes (hopefully not that extreme) and we generally want to eb forgiven for our errors. So when should forgiveness be offered?
I like the Three R formula myself: remorses, repentance and redemption.
The first step is remorse. The person must genuinely regret what was done and accept that it is wrong. Feeling regret about being exposed or caught does not count. It can be hard to tell when a person is sincere-that is a practical problem.
The second step is repentance. A person must take the appropriate steps to undo or counter their misdeed. This must also be sincere and must be done in good faith. While some things cannot be undone, there are almost always ways to repent.
The final step is redemption. The person must have learned from their actions and must be on their guard against falling again. Once redeemed a person is accepted back into the good graces of others.
Since we will all fail at some point, we need to be willing to extend forgiveness to others. Yes, there are some things that cannot be forgiven. Fortunately, these are not things that most of us ever do.
Sometimes we even need to forgive outselves.