Have you ever met someone who lived a tumultuous life as a youth? He may have gotten in trouble from day one, causing havoc wherever he went. People hated to see him coming because they knew problems would accompany him. His parents fretted over his lifestyle, many times lost because of his behavior. Teachers loathed having him in their classes, knowing that with him discipline problems would be the norm. People kept their belongings under lock and key because if they didn’t, their things would disappear with him. He may have gained a reputation, one that cost him the things and people he loved.
Even in a seemingly hopeless situation like this, there is a ray of hope. As long as this person has breath, there is a possibility for change. He can become different. He can travel a different path, and he can be genuinely sorry for his past behaviors.
Sometimes the problem is not with the “rehabilitated person” but with those who remember his past deeds. Even though he has proven by his lifestyle that he no longer desires his old ways, some people keep his past before him, reminding him of what he used to be. Even though he has made amends wherever possible, some never let him forget things he can never change.
It is unfair to continue to punish a person when he has paid for his wrongs and done his best to make amends. If he is living differently, he deserves a second chance. He may not be able to mend some of his relationships, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a second chance at life.
Are you holding someone hostage to his past even though he has changed? If you are, consider yourself. You never know when your mistakes may be unforgivable in the eyes of others, repaying you with the same scrutiny you are dishing out on someone else.