There was a story about this topic yesterday on the Today Show so I thought I would post my own thoughts on the subject since it is something that I often contemplate.
How many second chances does a person deserve? It seems that when it comes to family they get an unlimited amount of second chances. Friends, on the other hand, could go either way. The general consensus also seems to agree that it depends on the offense as well. I have my own ideas, of course.
First off I'll say that almost everyone deserves one second chance. Child molesters, rapists, people along those lines, don't get a second chance in my book though. Lock 'em up and throw away the key. Friends deserve a chance to redeem themselves if they were ever friends at all. Family, however, is a whole other ball of wax in my opinion.
Most people think that if you don't forgive and move on that you're being hard-nosed and holding a grudge and this especially applies when it comes to family. As a result, most family members receive second, third, and fourth chances, sometimes even more. By doing so, aren't you just feeding into whatever that person is doing? Becoming an enabler I think the correct term is. And if the wrong is done to you by someone in your family, isn't that going against the definition of what family really is? What I mean is that if they were your family in the truest sense of the word, would they really have hurt you in the first place?
Let's look at the women who continually forgive an abusive husband. He beats the crud after her time and again and she believes it's the last time and he'll change. Forgive and forget. Then you have someone in your family that seems to betray and deceive you at every turn. But they're family and they didn't really mean it so you forgive and forget. In both of these instances, and aside from the emotionally abusive factor in the woman's case, in my opinion you're being a push over and somebody's carpet to be walked all over. You are allowing yourself to be taken advantage of.
Of course, I define "family" in a totally un-traditional way than most people do. Blood ties do not automatically make family. That makes you related. Family to me is proven by actions and words. I have friends that never forget my kids' birthdays but "family" that forgets S's birthday almost every year. I have friends that I would lend money to in a heartbeat because they've been there for us in the past and I know I can trust them. On the opposite side, I have family that I would never lend a dime to because I know they'd spend it on stupid crap and I'd never get it back. Those friends I consider a part of my actual family. My sister isn't related to me by blood but she couldn't be more a sister to me than if we had been twins in the womb together.
These are the people in my life that I give second chances to. Not so-called family that doesn't think twice about turning their backs on me. I think there is a fine line between being unfair and unforgiving and being spineless and not standing up for yourself. I also think this whole topic is all a matter of opinion and that there is not a definitive right or wrong answer. Furthermore, I think there are more carpets out there than people with spine. If you're going to be somebody's carpet, at least be a Persian.