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Redemption


GeorgeW
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Newt Gingrich's recent resurrection (so to speak) has been very much in the news as well as his well-known marital indiscretions. And, it seems that he is successfully making lemonade from lemons (pardon the cliché) by turning this into a story of redemption.

 

I am a fan of forgiveness; I am not a fan of Newt Gingrich. And, frankly I have trouble accepting his I-made-some-mistakes (haven't we all) and his statements that he has sought and received forgiveness from God. Does my political distaste for Newt color my reaction to his story of redemption? Would I feel differently were he a lion of liberalism?

 

Another aspect of this situation is the hypocrisy in condemning Bill Clinton for extra-marital dalliances while carrying on an affair himself at the same time. However, I don't know if he has acknowledged this and sought forgiveness as well. Am I morally inconsistent in forgiving Clinton but not Newt?

 

How should a PC react to this aspect of Newt's life? Forgive and forget? Assume insincerity? Sincerity? Redemption?

 

(Since this is a religious forum, not political, I suggest that any discussion should focus on the forgiveness/redemption aspects of this situation.)

 

George

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George,

 

I don't believe in telling anyone, much less a PC, how they 'should' react but i will offer my own view on the matter. To me it requires no thought. I have nothing to forgive Newt for so in effect i have said he is forgiven. As far as whether my study of his record and intuitive perception of him believes he might make an acceptable president, that is a completely different matter as you have indicated.

 

Joseph

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I, too, as others here are expressing, have a problem with this "forgiveness" talk about someone that may have done something we may not approve of, but which did us nor anyone we know and care about any harm or offense to begin with. it is appropriate for those such as Newt's ex-wives and others personally affected by his behaviors to wrestle with issues of "forgiveness", but not me and you or most people.

 

Now in that, i do condition any matter of a public figure's personal misbehavior, with as it does or does not actually impact or affect the well-being or betray the trust of those whose lives his job affects. In any way Newt's, or any other politician might affect how they perform their job, forgiveness may or may not be an appropriate issue.

 

I do have a problem with the whole "forget" idea that is so often connected, I believe erroneously even for a Christian beleiver, to the forgiveness thing. Scripture only says that once one has confessed and tirned away from their sin, that God will forgive and forget. It does not suggest either God or any of us forgive without sincere repentance, changing of the ways, turning away from that sin or offensive behavior, nor are we instructed to "forget" any offense. This is one of the most maliciously misused ideas in common religion, that allows for those offending to continue in cycles of offending, confessing, making insincere profession of repentance, usually merely saying "I'm sorrry,' and simply going on to offend again and again with that same cycle repeated endlessly, with no change. This gets used against the victims of offenders, as burden and guilt are laid upon them in a demand they must forgive and forget for mere reason of an epxressed apology, whether sincere and accompanied by a change, or not. None of us would expect anyone to submit themselves to ready vulnerablity by once again placing a person that has robbed us of money or other valuables into a position of trust that woud allow them even facilitate them, to do the same thing to us again.

 

I also have a problem with the whole "forget" idea in that it suggests it negates the real consequences of the offense, and denies us the use of learning from experiences how to avoid even more problems in the future. For example, the wife subjected to repeated cycles of spousal abuse and infidelity should not be denied legitimate right to escape and endless cycle of abuse, apology, forgiveness, and more abuse.

 

i also do not think forgiveness enter in at all in how we might use knowledge of anyone's previous behavior in evaluating how competent and trustworthy that person may be now, or in any capacity in which that person would ask of us our trust and confidence in them, any more than observations of one's past work performance should be overlooked or ignored in determining our confidence in their confidence to do a job they now seek to be employed for by us.

 

I do not see Newt's past misbehaviors as anything for which I should consider forgiveness, but I do see them as among valid indicators of his competency and trustworthiness, his overall qualifications, including integrity and use of good judgement, in doing the job he'd ask us to hire him for now. And for me, the nature and details of his past indiscretions DO negatively affect my evalation of that, and quite signficiantly.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I think PC's are always free to do either (accept, reject or even ignore) and live with the consequences of their choices. It seems to me it is not my place as a PC to tell others what they 'should ' do. Perhaps express my opinion of what i would do rather than use the words "they 'should' " and give any reasons but ultimately the freedom of choice of response is with each. I prefer and find it wiser to not tell people what they 'should' do. (Not that i don't occasionally get caught of guard and do so :P )

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
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I do not see Newt's past misbehaviors as anything for which I should consider forgiveness, but I do see them as among valid indicators of his competency and trustworthiness, his overall qualifications, including integrity and use of good judgement, in doing the job he'd ask us to hire him for now. And for me, the nature and details of his past indiscretions DO negatively affect my evalation of that, and quite signficiantly.

Jenell

 

I think I agree with this. It is not up to us who are non-victims to do any forgiving. However, we are justified in considering past conduct in terms character and trustworthiness. We must make a judgement call on whether we think there has been a real change of character such that the person is suited for high office.

 

(FWIW, apparently No. 2 has not forgiven).

 

George

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How should a PC react to this aspect of Newt's life? Forgive and forget? Assume insincerity? Sincerity? Redemption?

 

I don't think such matters are our concern. We don't know all of the details behind the scenes, and forgiveness can only be gained from those wronged.

 

One should evaluate political candidates on his or her abilities to lead and govern, and nothing more. On that score alone, Newt is not a candidate I could support - but, his personal lifestyle is not a deciding factor.

 

NORM

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I agree with the general trend of this discussion. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines forgive as "stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence or mistake". If you feel angry or resentful toward Newt Gingrich on any grounds, it may be in the interest of your own well-being to forgive him. This will not help him in any way whatsoever. To forget what he has done in the past is another matter. Is it wise to forget that the person living next door to you is a habitual burglar and leave your house unlocked? If you believe Newt's past actions are inappropriate for a potential political leader then this might affect the way you vote unless there is evidence of genuine change.

 

—Jim

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Of course, one can't help notice the irony of this primary race; the top candidate is a Mormon (cultist according to most Christians I know), and the number two guy (except in South Carolina where he finished first) is a Christian with infidelity issues.

 

*Chuckle*

 

NORM

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Thank you, Jim: "The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines forgive as "stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence or mistake". If you feel angry or resentful toward Newt Gingrich on any grounds, it may be in the interest of your own well-being to forgive him."

 

Since to forgive is how you FEEL, it has nothing to do with saying you forgive someone, and it also does not mean you have decided what they did was OK or that you are OK with it or that you've decided what they did wasn't really wrong or even understandable, to be "excused" of their wrong which an entirely different matter altogether. It also does not mean you would not continue to participate in any legal proceedings the bring them to justice for the offense if it was a crime.

 

And we can't "make" ourselves "feel" and saying it doesn't make it so. And as you note, to forgive is for US, the offended, not for sake of the offender. It doesn't matter whether we ever tell someone we've forgiven them or not. And if we do, it doesn't make their offense any less.

 

I do understand forgiveness. There have been people in my life that hurt me terribly, offended against me terribly and even violently. I've come to peace of forgiveness, harbor no anger or bitterness or thought of revenge against them, because I've accepted that is simply who they were/are, and I just happened to get in their way, at the wrong place and wrong time. I rarely even think of them and what they did. That does not mean I've decided what they did was OK or excusable...it wasn't.

 

There have been some people I've told I've forgiven, but not the worst offenders, mainly because they have been long out of my life, I've moved on and so have they and any others connected to it. I would not want to initiate any renewed contact, would rather they don't even know where I am now, and quite honestly, would expect they'd be angry and enraged at and toward me all over again because they could never see or admit they'd done anything "really wrong" to begin with. So its better left alone.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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