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Is Everyone Redeemable?

Added: Sunday, April 22nd 2012 at 12:33pm by NanelleT
Category: Blogster

“Between the radiant white of a clear conscience and the coal black of a conscience sullied by sin lie many shades of gray where most of us live our lives.” Sherry Hoppe-in her book, A Matter of Conscience , describes her husband and his journey from the murder of another man to redemption and peace. 

Where is the line between redeemable and beyond redemption? Are some actions too reprehensible to deserve forgiveness?    I personally believe that everyone is redeemable if and when they are in a place of repentance and remorse-and truly changed their behavior.  Nobody is perfect. Everyone does things they shouldn’t to varying degrees. 

I am currently struggling with my belief that everyone deserves forgiveness and redemption, and the condition that the behavior must change.  For me, it is a question of how much do I forgive when the behavior does not change?  Where is the line on how long one allows someone to continue before we decide to distance ourselves from that person?

Some criminals, many would argue, are so terrible and their crimes so incomprehensible that they are too far gone to ever be a functioning member of society, regardless of their remorse or good behavior.  Two people who many believe have earned this reputation are Eugene de Kock and Anders Breivik.  Eugene de Kock is the former commanding officer of state-sanctioned death squads under Apartheid who is now serving a 212 year sentence for his crimes.  Anders Breivik, is on trial now for the massacre of 80 people (mostly children) in Norway last year. His idealogy of nationalism and anti-multiculturalism has a substantial following, but his actions were so extreme that he has isolated the very group he is acting on behalf of.

The key difference between Anders Breivik and Eugene de Kock is that de Kock has had time to think about what he has done and seems to truly have remorse for his actions.  Breivik is still in his fantasy world, believing what he did was right and justified.

While de Kock may truly be sorry for what he has done and may be a benefit to society if released, I am not advocating for that to happen.  The ramifications might prove too great.  Additionally, being redeemable and accepted back into humanity does not mean he should necessarily get all the privileges that entails.   Perhaps it is still just for him to remain secured in prison.  And if Breivik is found guilty, and finds himself in the same position as de Kock, how will we truly know their behaviors have changed when the very nature of being locked up prevents such behavior?  But Breivik is still a mystery as far as whether or not he chooses to live in his current reality or ultimately faces his actions and owns up to them, with the possibility of remorse or redemption.  Time will tell.  I guess it is the same with me. Time will ultimately be the factor that leads to a decision for me in my own life.


User Comments

Well said! I agree. I have a previous blog that has more on forgiveness. Can you see it? For some reason it seems to not show up. I see it in my blogster, though.


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