I go to class, weekly. It’s full of highly educated intellectuals with religious backgrounds….and me. I love this class and the people like my being part of it. This is because people tend to echo each other. I’m counted on to say something unexpected, provocative or bizarre, each week. Realizing this, I make a point to throw at least one curve ball each week.
This week I was listening to the conversation about the “conversation”. You know how words pop up all the time? All of the sudden, people want to have a conversation all the time. They want to have a, “national conversation” or they want to, “change the conversation” or whatever it is. They want to manipulate the conversation, control it, guide it, blah, blah.
If you’ve read this blog awhile, you know how irritated I get when everyone starts using the same words or phrases. I’m sorry, but I’m just not into the Borg.
I’m a pretty good, critical thinker and I’m able to skip ahead. So as I was getting bored with conversation about changing conversation, I decided to skip ahead and ask the class, “How come we never talk about redemption, anymore?”
I was talking about being a bad, bad, bad, very bad person, who becomes good. We don’t hear about this anywhere, anymore. A person is tagged as “bad” and that’s it. Or a person is doing bad things and rather than put a door there, where they can change their mind and take a new track, there’s an effort made (on someone’s part) to keep people who are doing wrong, doing wrong.
What about quitting doing wrong? Or making up for what you’ve done wrong? What about apology and forgiveness?
I’m not talking about apology for political purpose. I’m talking about having real regret for the things you’ve done and using it to turn yourself to head in a new direction.
I think it’s important to bring this concept back into the collective consciousness. You don’t have to double down on your bad investment. You don’t have to sit in a casino where you’ve been losing for years and continue to pour your energy; your heart, your soul, your money and whatever else you have, into some sinkhole. This is not required!
Be reminded – a bad person can become a better person and eventually they can become a good person or even a great person.
A person doing bad things can have a change of heart. They can stop doing bad things and start doing good things, change their live and the lives around them.
We might want to stop tagging people as good or bad or NARCISSISTIC and starting thinking and talking about how we can all do better and be better if we choose this.
This post brought to you by Neptune’s transit to my natal Pluto. Spiritual transformation, anyone?
How about death of victimhood?
Transcending the shadow?
Who can relate?
What a great idea! Thank you for reminding me of this. You’re right, I have definitely fallen into tagging people “bad” and shutting the door on them. This is a timely and good reminder. Really. Thank you.
It comes from that losing mentality of embracing everyone’s special snowflake differences, where people are “perfect the way they are”. There’s no place for improvement in that. I really think that’s why those stories are not heard any more.
My parents had a monthly group just like yours, the hosting rotated month by month. About 7 couples, discussing various spiritual issues. I grew up with those people and my parents let me stay and listen if I didn’t talk. They occasionally asked my opinion even as a child. (I loved talking to adults.) We also had a priest for dinner every Sunday (usually one of a group of regulars) and lots of deep discussions then too. It seemed normal then but it was quite unusual, I realized after. I was never afraid of a little philosophical sparring, since they liked to hear what we thought.
When you have smart people it’s a pleasure to discuss these topics- it makes your faith more real, as opposed to being preached at. Sounds like a good time! I like hearing about it.
Our group has three young women in it, all about 20 years old. The oldest person is 80+. 🙂
That is so cool!! Boy would I love something like that – thanks for telling, want to make it happen. Do others have this? A class or just a regular group get together? Please share –
It’s a Catholic apologetics class. I think it’s pretty unique.
The individuals in the class are also just a great group. We have two doctors, three engineers, some home-schooled people, a building contractor, a bookworm priest, my husband (a machinist ret. from Special Forces), an inventor and his assistant wife. These are the regulars.
Other people join in from time to time, when the topic interests them. For example, one gal stopped in to tell us about her escape from Czechoslovakia. They gave her a 7-up on the plane and she burst into tears.
One of the young women is on college, studying psychology – I tend to direct my comments to her, quite a bit. We all learn from each other.
The priest is funny. His remark on this topic was to quote someone (roughly) – I can’t remember who. “People suck and their kids are even worse!”
This is an attitude to avoid, of course.
Last week my husband mentioned punching someone at some point in his life…quite deservedly. The priest popped off, “your penance for that is one week in Hawaii!”
So it’s just a lot of fun. It’s not at all what you might expect. We just all say what we think and give each other ideas.
“A person is tagged as “bad” and that’s it. Or a person is doing bad things and rather than put a door there, where they can change their mind and take a new track, there’s an effort made (on someone’s part) to keep people who are doing wrong, doing wrong.”
Elsa, when I lived in the Midwest this type of thinking was normal. Once you were in a box, that’s all you were TO OTHER PEOPLE. Especially the REALLY religious small towns. It’s regional, and cultural.
The only way I could stand up proudly in my own head is when I told myself, “Just let God judge their judgment.”
Fantastic. 🙂 Yes. Gonna take this advice and run with it. It’s easier to put people into a simple box. It’s harder to admit you’re wrong about something, someone, or even yourself.
Yeah, hmm good points Kumquat. The era of “everyone is a special snowflake” is over. But an evolved forgiveness and admitting wrongs needs to be en vogue again so that we don’t destroy our world. Put down the ego, bro! It’s okay really, lol
“It’s harder to admit you’re wrong about something, someone, or even yourself.”
That’s really the crux of it, right there. If you don’t believe there is hope for you to change, you’re not going to believe it about anyone else.
And this is NOT encouraged. Being on the floor and staying there, while pointing at others, is what’s encouraged.
Elsa, you had me until the word NARCISSISTIC came up….Then I was like: no, no, no……
Sounds like a trigger word for you. 🙂
I just finished reading Owning Your Own Shadow. Resonated with me. Redemption is big with me. And that whole putting people in a box thing…well I’m still rebelling against that at forty-three. Borg talk repulses me. The Stepford Wives come to mind. *shudder*
I just got an email from Linkedin – “Elsa, are you part of the conversation?”
They want me to read this: “How to Engage in Meaningful Sales Conversations”
I agree it’s very unfair and limiting to perpetuate the myth that a person behaving in a hurtful way can’t change. That said, some people don’t want to change and will always prefer hurting others and blaming those around them for their problems to justify it. Or they just get off on inflicting emotional pain.
I agree, Elsa.
This brings back wonderful memories. I was part of a group that met every Friday afternoon from 1997 – 2003 at a small mom/pop bookstore where we had all met as patrons. There were a core of 5 of us that met every Friday. The numbers rose from 7 – 23, fluctuating over the years. We all had diverse back grounds, religions, and interests. We were white, black, male, female, gay, straight, between 19 and 70 years of age, and talked about everything. We had 3 military men – one a sniper, a writer, actor/musician, astrologer, a witch, a biker/bouncer at a strip club (the owner was scared when he showed up because of his looks), tarot readers, a clairvoyant artist, secretaries, 2 former addicts, one who had stolen, etc. B was a house painter who turned himself around and helped every drink/drug addict he met and gave them a place to sleep and get sober/straight until the day he died at 38 of a massive heart attack. I knew him a total of 6 years and he became my best bud and the DJ at my wedding. At his funeral it was mentioned he was the richest man they knew as so many that he had helped were there to honor his memory and tell how he had helped them turn their life around. And yet he had recently been injured and couldn’t work and he had lost his home (He had asked his brother for financial help and his brother was jealous, kicked him out of his home and burned his belongings and books). The day of his funeral, the owner closed the bookstore. 8 of us continued to meet Friday evenings at a big box bookstore for coffee/tea. Once a year in Dec., 7 of us would get together in a backyard after the rest of the guests had left and really talk and discuss and learn from each other into the early hours. That ended in 2013. And that is when I found Elsa and this blog. I so enjoy reading as many articles and replies as I can. There are a handful of names, that when I read their comments, I smile, think to myself, I would like to meet them and be a part of gatherings to talk and share and learn from each other like our old group used to do. Thank you, Elsa, as you offer the next best thing for me. <3
What do you mean with redemption exactly?
Society overall or individuals?
If a really evil person changes over time, I think the collective should accept them back. But how do you REALLY know?
If a person has done you real evil, changing the course of your destiny for example, I would never forgive him/ her. Justice over mercy.
Does forgiveness undo the destruction done? You have to pay for what you have done.
God can forgive you your sins, if you truly change and feel remorse. This is divine law. BUT if you have sinned against another person, the other person must forgive you, too. This is divine law, too. God cannot forgive you the sins you have done against another person. It’s quite logical, isn’t it?
If I meet someone with whom I really get along and he/she tells me about his/her dark past, destroying whole galaxies or whatever, this wouldn’t change the way I would act with him/her. It was nothing done to me, and in a way, it doesn’t concern me.
“What do you mean with redemption exactly?”
I meant exactly what I said up there. You’ve done something wrong, you realize it so you work to redeem yourself.
And I disagree with the limits you place on God. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
Yes. There are a lot of people right now who are mentally and emotionally imprisoned. The victim hood thing is just huge right now. I for one got sick of it and got out of that mindset, by the grace of God.
Fwiw I’d also like to see the end of people being labeled as “toxic”.
“Fwiw I’d also like to see the end of people being labeled as “toxic”.”
Good one! Yes, I agree. Because you’re only toxic until you’re no longer toxic! 🙂
Yeah… some of these phrases have served their purpose, which in this case was to give people courage to say no to hurtful behavior… and protect yourself. But, then it makes another “box” to store flawed but real people away, while continuing to believe you’re great, innocent, a victim! You then stop taking responsibility for your own actions. I’m realizing the more courageous thing is to approach folks you thought of as toxic as real people again. Carrying a load like the rest of us 🙂 Folks here are packed full of wisdom and I like it 😀
Oh, and it can go the other way too. Once great people can go on a downward spiral. I always think this when I see a Mercedes drive by a homeless person: that their really only separated by a few bad circumstances and maybe a few bad choices. I’m talking about wealth but my example could easily be applied to “morality”.
I suppose if you’re always keeping other people in the doghouse for their past transgressions, you’re probably keeping yourself there as well. Great post. Very refreshing!
Thanks and what you say is true! 🙂
I can relate.
I like the phrase “conversation” – I feel like it opens up the possibility of something that otherwise once felt inaccessible.
But I totally hear you on your irritation with it. I feel like maybe your capping Narcissism is suggesting the same about that word? 🙂
I definitely have seen people change for the better. Me included.
I don’t think the point is how common it is. My point is that a person can be redeemed. But I would ads, if this were mentioned more often – if people were reminded of this, the numbers, whatever they might be, would go up.
That this is “rare” is part of the current “conversation”. So if you continue to listen to it, there goes your freedom.
I think a few months ago, I basically told you just DO THE THING. You responded to that and the minute you did, you turned your life around.
Psychobabble ? For a country seemingly so obsessed with Christian values I find it quite revealing that redemption isn’t a hot buzz word? H
Nice to read such talk. It’s part of the polarization happening seems like everywhere. People can change in a big way, they can be redeemed. Nice message to wake up to.
Redemption used to be a common theme in movies.
Yes, and you would leave, inspired. I miss that.
For a good part of my life I believed that there wasn’t a Hell. It seemed illogical to me that God would do that to His creations. I am a Catholic. I have witnessed many people in my life who have become better people and turned their lives completely around. I have also been in the presence of true evil; an experience I would not wish on my worst enemy. I get shivers on my spine when I think of it. I now believe there is some sort of Hell purely in a scientific way. If there is a Heaven, +, there must be Hell, -. Redemption may be achieved either in this world in this life, this time, or the next. I know, this is contrary to Catholic ideology, but this is what I believe.
I’m glad a few of you are familiar with groups. My side of Tampa is heartbreaking and without a car.. I’ll work out the catholic church issue here maybe a Saturday evening mass. I have a monthly group I went to twice. Heart to Heart. Women only.
I’m lost its encouraging but sort of baseless if you don’t pray as prostestant which is extremely lovely. Still foreign to me. Nice women met knew ones the 2nd time. Next time we are sharing art a drawing of what we wish for? I know the hostess knows my backround so this should be good. Hope it helps.
But how can someone be redeemed without changing?
How do you know you’re the type of person who can be redeemed? How do you know who to invest in who has these serious problems? I usually avoid people with major personality disorders and things like this.