Forbes released its list of the most disliked NFL players and that ex-dog fighter, Michael Vick, is at the top of their list. He served nearly 2 years in prison after pleading guilty to the crime. Since then he's disavowed dog fighting and has been working with the the Humane Society to end dog fighting.

This post isn't about Michael Vick. He just starts the discussion.

What about forgiveness? When does one deserve it? When does one give it? Does one do one's best to forget after forgiving?

What do you think?

Tags: Humane, Michael, Society, Vick, forgiveness

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Romantic love can turn into true love, but romantic love remains OCD.

Some things, to me, are unforgivable; particularly if I (or a loved-one) am the victim. Child molestation, rape, physical torture or mutilation, murder. If such a person (even a close relative) showed an interest in one of my kids (they're grown up now, though), I'd tell him to never show his face again or suffer the consequences. It wouldn't matter to me if this person swore up and down that he has reformed himself . . . he's already crossed a line I can't continence. As far as I'm concerned, they're not worth the risk. There's no coming back from these sorts of violations. If that makes me callous, well . . . so be it.

For lesser crimes and affronts, I'd basically go by what I believe the person is like NOW. After all, people do change or learn lessons. I grew up an "Army brat", traveling around the world and attending many different schools. There were many times I had to face the school bully. Of these encounters, 2 bullies actually became good friends after I kicked their asses. And they also stopped being bullies. I like to think they learned their lesson and that I was responsible for it.

As for Michael Vick, I know many animal lovers are very serious about their dogs. But I certainly think he's demonstrated plenty of contrition. Give the guy a break! 

Let's explore the other end of the spectrum. I never understood how so MANY women continually forgive their husbands for physical violence. Has anyone heard of a man who beat his wife ONCE - and then never again. To me a wife beater is a wife beater. If they have it in them to punch a woman, that part of their personality was formed long before they were ever married. No matter how much they SWEAR (and fully intend) to never do it again, they always do.

My advice is always: forgive (for your own sake) but stay away. Look for another partner.

I think it's part situational and part psychological. 

First, many women are dependent on their male partner. Without him, they may be without adequate income (or any income). Also, he may have threatened them if they were to leave or even report their brutality to the authorities. (This is why in many jurisdictions police can file a complaint alleging abuse even if the woman won't press charges. That relieves her of at least some of the blame.)

Psychologically, women are somewhat hardwired to nurture, which means believing there's hope where others may see none. They may believe that their love can change and improve the other person. This can lead them into a codependent relationship (yes, codependency isn't limited to people with addicted partners). Low self-esteem (which an abusive partner can foster and exploit) can have the woman thinking "This is the best I can do because at least he sees SOME worth in me."

Some people do actually change their ways. If Vick has realized that cruelty and inhumane treatment is a sign of mental defect and not tolerated in a civilized society then he warrants forgiveness. 

There is a saying: Wrong me once, shame on you. Wrong me twice, shame on me. Perhaps cynicism has it's place. I don't think a blanket statement on forgiveness can be offered. So much depends on the circumstances and outcome of the wrongdoing.

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