Why do so many people want to indefinitely hold others to their past transgressions? Why can’t we all find forgiveness in our hearts and trust that people can and do sometimes change for the better? I ask these questions because of an article I just read on TVline.com recently about Hartley Sawyer who was an actor that got fired from the TV show “The Flash” back in the beginning of June for racist and misogynistic tweets dating back to the 2012 to 2014-time frame. While the article itself talked positively about how his character was going to be written out of The Flash, it was the discussion that took place below it in the comments section that was mostly filled with nothing but negativity and judgment.
Countless individuals claimed that since Hartley was guilty of these toxic behaviors six to eight years ago, he’s always going to be guilty of them and wouldn’t ever change. A number even went so far as to say that once a person hits their 20’s to 30’s, they are who they are and aren’t going to change much anymore. Overall, I felt the vast majority of all those comments were really hurtful towards Hartley and it truly got to me.
First off, everyone is fully worthy of forgiveness and redemption and yes, I do mean EVERYONE! Even the guy that molested me in my early teens was worthy of that and did receive that from me. While the things Hartley tweeted over six year ago were indeed quite distasteful and toxic, it is unfair to hold him to that for the rest of his life. That person I was in my 20’s and 30’s is so far from who I am now. Much of my own behaviors during those two decades were no better than Hartley’s, but I changed, and I spiritually grew for the better. Now, I’m so different from who I was back then.
Second, I’m always amazed at all the finger pointing that goes on in our world, where everyone quickly jumps on the bus of persecution towards another, labeling them as wrong, and verbally expressing their displeasure at another’s behaviors. But, I can promise you that every single person who does point their finger, like so many did towards Hartley Sawyer in those comments, is guilty at some point in their life of saying or doing something toxic that hurt another.
Lastly, I just want to say that over the years, I’ve worked with people suffering from addiction of all ages, including a guy that was in his late 60’s and had spent his entire life, a good 40 years and then some, being toxic, saying hurtful things, with most assuming he’d probably never change. Yet, I sat down with him week after week, attended meetings with him, and helped guide him through the 12 Steps of recovery. And you know what…he got better. He did change…even though he was in his late 60’s! Five years later, he’s now helping others, and an amazing husband to his wife, something he fell short quite a bit through much of his earlier adulthood.
So, the bottom line is that Hartley Sawyer is worthy of forgiveness, as are all of us, no matter what we’ve ever done or said. Look, if every job, friend, partner, and individual in this world based everything on our past transgressions and never gave us the chance to change or demonstrate we’ve changed, we’d all most likely never get a job again, make any new friends, ever have a partner, or connect to any new individuals, because the focus would always remain on the mistakes we’ve made and never on any good we ever try to do. In light of that, maybe we all could start practicing giving a little more forgiveness to those who’ve made mistakes, because there may come a day when we need some of that for mistakes we’ve made, mistakes we all are worthy of forgiveness of, NO MATTER WHAT!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson