Guilt and forgiveness

Ned - Fairfield, California
Entered on March 11, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: forgiveness

While we’re all outraged by the crimes that drove the world economy onto the rocks, rest assured that the American criminal justice system is designed to make the defendants guilty. I’m a retailer, so I know people steal. I love law and order as much as anyone but after being involved in the system as a victim, a witness, and as the accused, I can tell you that the system we have is very effective but, it doesn’t work the way we say it does. Anyone who has been indicted knows from his friends and acquaintances that you are not guilty until proven innocent. People won’t look at you straight after you’re accused.

Most of us know where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Anyone who has been a witness knows that the process takes your experience and fits it into a bigger picture. You don’t have to be completely correct to have your testimony add to the verdict. You just have to be consistent.

What the defendant doesn’t realize is that the justice system handles the victims too, not just the accused. Many victims are so angry they’re ready to take justice into their own hands. We can’t let that happen.

To discern whether or not the accused is guilty won’t pacify the victims. To investigate a situation until we know exactly what happen is just too tough. So, we have a process to make the accused guilty and it works. Millions of Americans are guilty, thanks to the process. Many now live like slaves, in institutions we call prisons. And the victims are usually just as angry as ever.

Many pray “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sinned against us.” The first part of that is easy. Even the people who think they’ve never done anything wrong want to be forgiven. The second part, to forgive others, is necessary and almost impossible. You can’t live your life to be not guilty. When you’re accused, the process will almost certainly make you guilty. But, you can live your life to forgive- forgive those who cheated you and hurt you, forgive those who have accused you, and forgive those who railroaded you. Hard? That’s why it’s a prayer. This is the hope we have: to forgive. That’s what I believe.