THE REDEMPTION ROAD

Can a person redeem themselves? Or are some actions so terrible and evil that redemption is out of the question? I am sure we can find examples that could fit redeemable and unredeemable cases.

Can a person redeem themselves? Personally, I believe they can. But, how does one redeem themselves? What is the process? How long does it take? Will the victims of those transgressions allow the perpetrator to redeem themselves? Can there be redemption if there isn’t any forgiveness from the victims?

So many questions and barely any answers. I know I speak for everyone when I say, all of us have messed up at some point in our lives. We have hurt others, intentionally or unintentionally and we have done so to various degrees. I am not talking about the sociopaths and psychopaths out there. I am not talking about the child molesters, rapists, killers and any other kind of trash that is walking the earth. I am talking about ordinary people whose sins and transgressions don’t destroy lives but hurt others, whether deeply or not. Good people do bad things. It happens. It doesn’t make them evil. Can they redeem themselves?

I believe redemption is possible. People start the redemption road only when they realize and understand how much damage they have caused. They must use every ounce of empathy they can muster and understand how their actions have impacted others. Those seeking redemption must somehow feel hurt themselves in order to grasp, even a little, how other people suffered. They will never fully understand it, but they can get a sliver of that pain and sorrow, if they are lucky. Only then, can they ask for forgiveness and start the long tiresome path of redemption.

Redemption is an internal process and forgiveness is an external process. Redemption is about self forgiveness. It is about dealing with what you did whereas forgiveness is granted by those who were hurt. It is important to know that when you ask for forgiveness, it will not necessarily be granted to you because not everyone in this world is forgiving, anyway. Those unforgiving people aren’t evil people. Sometimes, it is hard to forgive a trespass. To a certain extent, it is a personal journey the perpetrators must go through alone.

So, can a person redeem themselves? Well, in the long process of redemption, you, the perpetrator, have, whether you accept it or not, and as selfish as it sounds, to forgive yourself. You mustn’t run or shy away from what you did. You must own it. Moreover, you must listen to those you have hurt and attempt as best as you can, to feel their pain. You must do it, not because it is convenient, but because you simply must start with the first step of the redemption road. Your actions hurt others and you need to understand that, and make sure you don’t do it again…The thing is, if you do it again, well, then, you perhaps enjoy inflicting pain on others. If that is the case, you are, for lack of a better word, a sadist.

Your sins will cling to you. Your trespasses might very well define you in the eyes of others and most importantly in your own eyes. Sure, it is uncomfortable, it is painful. It is even unfair to be described by the one mistake you’ve made, but life can be quite unfair. How do you move on from that? I don’t have a magic solution, I wish I did. Ask for forgiveness, go see a priest, go see a therapist, talk to the people you hurt, I am not sure which one of these solutions is the best. But start with wanting to forgive yourself and make things right, if it is possible. If you cannot correct the mistake, acknowledge it and move on to asking for forgiveness.

To redeem oneself is an internal struggle, a personal quest of self discovery. It is a personal journey during which you will have to face yourself, who you really are, for better or worse. It is a long and tedious voyage from the darkness towards the light, to use an easy metaphor. It also happens to be a profoundly long path to self forgiveness, which will hopefully lead you towards asking for forgiveness. It isn’t easy, it isn’t convenient, it isn’t pleasant, it isn’t given. You must work hard to get redemption, and to ask for forgiveness.

Seeking redemption is a proof you are sane. It is proof you want to improve, to get better in order to be better. That is a worthy task. Wanting to change your condition, wanting to redeem one’s soul is a noble goal. It is a goal I salute, and I congratulate anyone who is looking to be redeemed. Remember, redeeming oneself is seeking how to correct the course of your life. There is always shame accompanied with causing pain to others. I understand it as well as anyone. I have hurt and wronged people. Sometimes, I realized after it a long time and that kind of realization hurts but it is a necessary pain. The quest of redemption has made me a better man. Moreover, I know it is attainable because I have redeemed myself a few times.

The worst we can do, is walk around thinking we are saints and we have rarely or never wronged others. In the end, redemption can only exist through asking for forgiveness. Nevertheless, you must recognize the pain you caused and forgive yourself. Then, proceed to ask for forgiveness. You may not get absolution. Yet, you would have done the right thing. Remember, doing the right thing is sometimes the hardest thing to do.  

Asking for forgiveness because you did hurt someone, that is strength. Redemption is a strength, not a weakness. Redemption shows character and courage. I say, as painful and humiliating as it may sound, do not ever be afraid to attempt to forgive yourself so you can start your journey towards redemption.

Finally, remember, redemption is a process, not a switch you flip to see everything being erased and/or forgiven. Redemption isn’t about conveniently forgetting what happened. Redemption is about facing that thing you did and moving on. Redemption starts with taking responsibility, with owning whatever happened.

I can tell you one thing with certainty: when the redeeming process starts, nothing will ever feel so sweet and liberating. Redemption helps your soul, and nothing is as worthy as a calm soul that is at ease.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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