Wednesday, March 3, 2010


1. to refuse pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.)
3. to withhold pardon to (a person)

Are some actions unforgivable? There are certainly things that we do that can't be undone, mistakes both big and small. But do you believe, do I believe that there are some offenses so great that I should refuse pardon? Right now, a Tennessee woman sits on death row, awaiting execution. She's been convicted of hiring someone to kill her (abusive) husband. While certainly not an action that I condone, reading her story made me wonder whether this is unforgivable. Because it seems to me that putting someone to death, executing her, means her actions are truly and literally beyond pardon, beyond forgiveness, outside the realm of second chances.

But I don't think I believe this - about anyone or anything they have done. I've made big and small mistakes throughout my life. In fact, I continue to make them. Just last night, my five year old told me that I "build her down when I use that mean voice." Tearing my child down with words isn't the same thing as murder for hire, but both are wrong. And I am thankful that K gives me not just a second chance, but many chances, to be a better mom to her.

It seems to me that if Gaile Owens is put to death, we send the wrong message to our children who disobey, our teenagers who drink underage, our daughter who gets pregnant in high school, our son who hits someone in anger. Because the message we send is that any one mistake can define you forever. If Gaile is executed because one action she committed is unforgivable, we're saying that SHE is unforgivable. We are saying that one moment in time defines all of who she is.

None of us want that for ourselves, our children, our families. We want the chance to change, the chance to make reparations for the wrongs we commit, the chance to continue living.

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