The Importance of Redemption and Forgiveness

The Importance of Redemption and Forgiveness

forgivenessRedemption is not perfection.  The redeemed must realize their imperfections. ~ John Piper

In the past month I’ve had two really important conversations with two young men.  Both of these young men have made mistakes, they’ve wronged people and to some extent both feel like their life is over, that they can’t come back from the mistakes they have made.  My message to both of them was simply that they are incorrect, redemption is a very real thing.  I know this, because I’ve come back from a lot of mistakes in my life.  The conversations led to the poem I wrote that’s included at the end of this post.

forgiveness, redemptionWe’ve all made mistakes, we’ve all done wrong.  For some of you these have been small things.  For some of us, well, we’ve done some really bad things to other people.  I’ve done bad things, I’ll leave it at that.  I’ve made mistakes, I became an alcoholic, I abused drugs, failed out of college.  I’ve treated some people in my life badly, I failed a friend terribly as she was dying of cancer.  As she was dying I apologized for not being there for her the way I should have been.  She was an amazing person, and she forgave me for not being there and thanked me for all of the times I had been in her life.  Tears fill my eyes thinking about it, but she taught me something incredibly important that day.  She taught me how powerful forgiveness can be.  Because of her and the work I’ve done in my life, I’ve also learned how powerful redemption can be and I know, above all other things, the hardest thing is to forgive yourself, to find redemption in your own eyes for the things that you have done.

The thing is my friends, redemption is possible.  The way I have come to think about it is this, I believe what is important in the end, is what does the balance sheet look like.  How much good have you done, to compare with the bad?  The more bad you’ve done, the more good you have to do.  I’m not necessarily talking about grand gestures, little things count and they add up.  I’m talking about doing good every day, every little kindness, every act of caring, the responsibilities you take on for others.  To me, intentions mean a lot, so are you trying to do good, are you trying to help others in their lives.  Are you a good parent, a good child, a good friend and how do you treat strangers in your life, how do you treat the service people you encounter?  Basically, how do you give of yourself to make a positive impact on other people’s lives?

forgiveness, redemptionOne thing that you have to get past in the process of redemption is the mindset of self punishment.  Most of us have been socialized under social and religious systems that emphasis punishment in one form or another.  Whether it be the idea of an eye for eye or punishment in the afterlife.  Those of us who have done wrong believe that we can never be forgiven, so we believe that we should always be punished.  This sets up a self-fulfilling prophecy, if you always feel like you should be punished, that you’re never worthy of good things, well, good things have a tendency not to come your way.  So what do you do?

You have to change your mindset, you have to move forward, work towards redemption and turning the balance sheet to the positive.  Then at some point, you have to forgive yourself for your past transgressions, and change your mindset to understand that although you’ve done wrong, you can and are worthy of good things happening in your life.  This was the most important thing both of these young men needed to hear.


Our society also needs to improve in this aspect.  We are increasingly becoming a society that believes in putting scarlet letters on people.  We are so quick, especially on social media, to want to condemn people forever for any past transgression, anything they have done that does not conform to our current understanding of how things should be.  I’m not saying we should excuse bad behavior, but that if someone makes a mistake, takes responsibility for it, pays penance and works to do better, then forgiveness should be a possibility.

That’s my message and my ask for you tonight my friends, recognize the good people are trying to do, no matter what they’ve done in the past, and try and be forgiving.  Try and do good for others, never to your own detriment.  I don’t want anyone to harm their own life trying to help others.  I don’t want anyone forgiving someone who after being forgiven before repeats the same behavior, becoming a doormat does not make you a good person. Be strong, try and live a good life, do good for others and recognize when others are doing the same, and have a happy day my friends.  ~ Rev Kane




I came back                                                                        12/16/19
Alone, weird, scared
sitting in the dark, crying
a knot in my stomach for years
but I came back

Awkward, crazy haired
fitting in with no one
short, fat, unattractive
but I came back

Drunk, stoned, lost
wasted daily
failing out of college
but I came back

Living as a failure
angry, alone
wanting to kill my father
but I came back

Desperate for connection
becoming a whore
going off with anyone who caught my eye
but I came back

I came to know myself
I got straight
I got sober
I did the work
I’ve come all the way back
what matters most
from me to you
is not that I came back
but so can you

About Michael Kane

Michael Kane is a writer, photographer, educator, speaker, adventurer and a general sampler of life. His books on hiking and poetry are available in soft cover and Kindle on Amazon.
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