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Mar 132013
 

I read an article the other day where a man got out of prison for robbing someone and he said “I made a mistake” and I “paid for my mistake.” It immediately made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. He did NOT make a “mistake” he made a “bad choice” and he did “pay” society by spending time in prison for his choice, but it wasn’t a “mistake.”

A mistake is when you add incorrectly on your bank statement and you over draw your account. A bad choice is when you know the account is closed but you write a check anyway, knowing it is bad.

Society doesn’t seem to “get it” that when someone makes a deliberate choice to do something that is wrong that it is not “just a mistake.” Some how “making a mistake” by robbing a bank seems less bad than making a “choice” to rob a bank.

The Bible says that a man who steals because he is hungry is not to be held to the same standard that the man who robs because he is greedy, but if the hungry man is caught, he still must bear the consequences of his act, but they are not the same consequences as the greedy thief.

We have all made mistakes, and we have all made poor choices. Sometimes we have chosen to deliberately do what we knew was wrong. If you ask in a crowded room who had done things they knew were wrong, I would have to wave my hand wildly, because I have violated my conscience on multiple occasions. I have broken more than one of the Ten Commandments.

Some of the choices I have made though were unwise choices, but at the time I didn’t know they were unwise. I still get the consequences pf those choices though.

Some of the choices were based on false beliefs, such as “there is good in everyone” or “anyone can be redeemed by God and cease being a criminal.” These were precepts I had been taught and swallowed really without examining the truth of these thoughts. These false  beliefs led me to maintain a malignant (false)  hope that my psychopathic son Patrick was telling me the truth, and that he wanted to get out of prison and come home and go to college and live a law abiding life here with my family.

I wish there was a magic wand that would tell us what we are thinking or doing is wrong, but unfortunately there isn’t such a thing. What we can do in light of this fact, is to consider our thinking and beliefs and examine the evidence and see if the two are in sync.

If someone is SAYING “I’m sorry” and they are ACTING like they are not, then maybe the evidence is that, regardless of what they say, they are not sorry for what they have done, maybe just sorry they got caught.  If people CHOOSE to offend, and again and again, that is not a mistake, but a series of choices indicating that the person believes what they are doing is okay, at least for them, if not for everyone else.

Joyce Alexander, RNP

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  2 Responses to “Mistakes versus Choices They are not the same

  1. Joyce, yes! There are always options – good ones, bad ones, and what seem to be benign ones. But, when people choose to harm others (friends, family, pets, banking institutions), they aren’t making those choices without there being other options available.

    Holding our children accountable for their choices can become an exercise in futility, especially when there is little-to-no support for parents of children who continue making stupid choices. I can recall being phoned at work, every day at 12 noon, by the “alternative” school where my son was warehoused to please, come pick him up – he was out of control, in isolation, was breaking things, attacking other students and teachers. I lost my job because of this. I didn’t fault the company – how can they run a business with employees dashing off, every day, in the middle of their shifts?

    I still feel the frustration, today, because I ended up losing my position to do what I believed (at that time) to be the “right thing.” UGH……….

  2. Truthspeak, first off, welcome to Family Arrested. I personally know the frustration of trying to control a teenager who makes up their mind to defy all authority. For a while I would take mine to work WITH ME as I was a nursing supervisor of a hospital and I would put him to bed in an empty room. I probably would have been fired if the admin had known, but I did what I also felt I had to do.

    It is nigh on impossible to tell what is the high end of normal teen rebellion and what is a personality disorder.

    God bless

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