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Michael Vick, Bill Simmons, forgiveness and restorative justice

Oct 08, 2010

from Eliyahu Fink's post on Pacific Jewish Center:

Bill Simmons (aka The Sports Guy) wrote a recent [espn.com] column about Michael Vick and his comeback.

....Simmons writes that Vick emerged as the “feel good story” of the NFL. But his wife disagrees. The Sports Gal cannot forgive Vick. The Sports Gal says that if you love dogs, you cannot possibly forgive Vick. Sport Guy retorts that Vick did everything humanly possibly to pay for his crimes, apologize and rehabilitate his life. He lost EVERYTHING. He said he was genuinely sorry. He is fixing what he broke. Vick is a real Restorative Justice story. And Bill Simmons forgives him. Mrs. Simmons loves dogs too much to forgive Vick.

The article is a great read and I recommend reading it.

....In Judaism an apology is not for the victim. Victims are expected to forgive. In order for God to pardon a sin using the Teshuva process (Essay: What is Teshuva (repentance) and How Does It Work in Judaism?) the one who suffered the harm must forgive. Orthodox Jews make a proclamation every year just before Yom Kippur that they forgive anyone and everyone that may have hurt them1. Forgiveness is basically a given. However, an apology is valued by what it accomplished for the perpetrator. Saying “I’m sorry” is good for the person who did something wrong because it is an acknowledgment of wrongdoing which is necessary for his personal change. Even if the apology is required, it can make all the difference in the world for the one who expresses the apology is rehabilitating their life.

Read the whole article.

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