Created by Dennis Kyle on 12/17/2010 6:09:00 PM
It often amazes me how quickly people react to publicity in the news. Michael Vick was found guilty a few years ago of some rather heinous activities regarding dog fighting and the mistreatment of animals. I do not condone or in any way approve of someone harming an animal. In fact, this entire post is not dedicated to whether you believe Michael Vick was guilty or innocent, or whether you think the penalty for the crime was sufficient, it is about:
Can someone be forgiven and correct the error of their ways?
Life sometimes presents all of us with challenges. It is easy to point the proverbial finger at someone else when they make mistakes which we personally believe to be egregious. Simply put, it is human behavior to judge another for their actions when the actions are outside of our own belief system.
I am not a supporter of Michael Vick. I am a fan of his football athleticism and performance. I believe what he did was wrong, and there are parts of me that felt he should have been punished more severely. However, the looming question here is whether someone or even Michael Vick should or can be forgiven for making a mistake.
Earlier today on Mike and Mike from ESPN Radio they interviewed Michael Vick and he seemed to be a fairly intellectually balanced and a sound member of society (watch the video posted in this blog.) He spoke of his good works in the community with children and organizations. He is proactive beyond his sentence to spread the word about the mistreatment of animals and how his behavior was wrong.
Most religions and societies are built on second chances. Dog fighting is certainly a hot topic because of the mistreatment of animals, but the question at hand is:
Does Michael Vick deserve a second chance? The argument is not about the crime anymore. Our judicial has a means for judging people based on specific criteria. Once the judgment is made, a sentence is given and a person (Michael Vick) does their time.
Michael Vick is a free man, with only some probation left to serve. Should he be forgiven, should he be given a second chance, and how will he be judged in the court of public opinion?
The Harsh Truth
The harsh truth of this matter is...
He should absolutely be given a second chance. What if by his pure demonstration, he touches the life of one child or a thousand for that matter. What if he makes the difference in some young man's life who is heading down the wrong road, or a single mom who feels like she should end it because life has become too challenging. Second chances are not always intended solely for the people who are given the chance but they often have far reaching affects.
We have to look at all situations with an isolated benevolence to seek out the truth. It is one thing if someone is given an opportunity for a second time and they squander it due to repeating an old behavior. However, when a person grows, matures, and sees the error of their ways we must give them opportunity. This doesn't mean we have to condone them. Certainly we are not even required to support them. However, we also have no reason to destroy them either.
In the past two years I have learned how quickly life can change. None of us are free from making bad decisions in our life. Most of us because of our upbringing will never do something that requires a judge to control our earthly destiny, yet most of us will pass judgment on someone because they made a mistake.
Whether I agree or disagree with the outcome of the Michael Vick situation in the courts, the decision was made. In this moment, I hope that Michael Vick will be an example to all of us that a second chance can payoff. I hope Mike uses his fame and fortune to make a difference.
While we are often defined in the minds of others by things we have done in the past, what we do in this moment, right now, is the most important action we can take. Hopefully all of us this holiday season can work to spread goodwill and make a difference to someone who might be needing it.