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How long should someones past be held against them?

Everyone makes mistakes. Most people try to learn from them. Some people do time for them. Some people continue to make the same mistakes over and over. But for the ones who learn their lesson, feel guilty, and paid their debt, how long should it be continually used against them, or used to define the type of person they are?

For example, the "easy" girls you knew in high school, who grow up, get married, have kids, maybe even go to church...

The woman was was a "mistress", but regrets it...

The man who has a criminal record from his younger days, who's grown up, changed his life, and just wants to support his family...

The teenager who had an abortion, and years later wants a baby...

Obviously murder or something of that kind would be different. But I'm talking about lesser offences...


Asked by Anonymous at 8:23 AM on Jun. 7, 2013 in Just for Fun

This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • Until they've made amends. That's how responsibility works.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 8:28 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • Depends on what it is. I mean, the man with the criminal record - if he's a sex offender, sorry I don't care if he has grown up and changed, if he once raped a woman or sexually touched a child, I'm going to hold that against him for life. I'm not going to risk being his next victim, or my kids being his next victims if he suddenly changes his mind.

    Some stuff, though, I think people bring it on themselves. I mean, if you slept around in high school or were once a mistress, if you want to move on, stop bringing it up. I know people who are like, "Oh, I was such a slut in high school, but now I'm a wife and God-fearing woman, but no one wants to let me forget I was a slut!" - but she's saying this to a total stranger. Well...there was your chance to move on with someone who didn't even know and you blabbed it to them.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:29 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • it depends on what they did, and what steps they're taking. actions speak louder than words.

    Answer by tnm786 at 9:25 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • I think every case has to be individually decided. There has to be a time of demonstration that changes have taken place, and the guilty party should be willing to tolerate those consequences for as long as it takes. We can never act like behaviors don't matter, but we can certainly be willing to believe the best of any person--at least for a period of time. I think it's always a good idea to put yourself in the shoes of the guilty party and ask yourself how you would like to be treated should you have been the stupid one. A lot of youthful indiscretions are the result of plain old stupidity, and I would not like those things held against me for the rest of my life.

    Answer by NannyB. at 9:58 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • Until they EARN back the trust in Character and show they have changed. Not only in the way they act currently but also their response when those past actions are brought up to be used against them.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 9:30 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • I disagree with wendy on the sex offender in some cases. There are 18 year olds that are sex offenders because they had sex with their 16 year old girlfriends. Both were young & stupid. I think you have to look at each person as an individual. Have they tried to make amends, to change their lives around?
    Think about the kids we currently house in our jails that are 13, 14, 15, etc that have killed someone. It's hard to say that it should always be held against them if in their 30's, 40's etc they are going around telling kids how stupid and remorseful they are for what they did. That it can never be undone.

    You can't be stupid about what someone has done but you can try not to judge them on what they did in their past. If someone told me they had robbed a store when they were 19 and went to jail but since then they have completed their education & holding down a job I'd tend to believe that they are trying.

    Answer by baconbits at 10:45 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • It depends but as a generally rule, If they are sorry and change the behavior and obviously make whatever restitution, in my book they deserve a second chance, But I do think people are leery of accepting someone back into the same situation. It is to easy to run down that road.

    Answer by Dardenella at 10:46 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • When it's clear they've tried made amends with the one they hurt and not just trying to prove that they tried. It has to be sincere and consistent for at least a year and maybe more depending on what offense it was. Trust can't simply be given back. It has to be earned and the one who was hurt dictates how it will be earned back. Amends has to be shown in the way that is meaningful to the one who was hurt. Maybe they want a public apology (I've seen it in newspapers), maybe they want you to replace the exact item that was broken (getting an item that you can't use is pointless), maybe they want to see you keep trying to apologize to them even if they don't respond to your messages right away. If the relation was that important, you would keep trying. That's the bottom line because obviously it wasn't if you don't keep trying.

    Answer by hellokittykat at 11:00 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • Sometimes you do have to move away and start a new life where people don't know you....if you did something criminal, even that isn't always enough. But, even a teenager who commits a crime knows it's a crime....they just don't realize how long living with it the rest of your life can be.

    Answer by ohwrite at 9:02 AM on Jun. 7, 2013

  • time doesn't heal all wouds. but it also depends on what they did, and that the truly understand what there actions caused to happen.

    Answer by Sillylins at 11:11 AM on Jun. 7, 2013