Everything Happens For a Reason: Forgiveness and the Nature of Man

Last night, I was leading a discussion on St. Augustine. As most of you know, St. Augustine was a person who experimented with sex and alcohol before eventually repenting, becoming part of the Church, and becoming one of the most prominent priests and later bishop that we have ever seen. The main point that I want to discuss tonight is a very basic one, though an often forgotten one.

Our Sins will always be forgiven by God, so long as we are truly sorry.

What does it mean to be sorry? The 2006 movie Just Friends (aside from being the story of my life) presents the character of Samantha James, a cross between Britney Spears and any other crazy, whacked out (possibly cracked out) superstar of the late 90s and early 2000s. Now, Samantha James and her character have absolutely nothing to do with my post (but everything at the same time…HA!), but she did say something in her completely ridiculous song, “Forgiveness,” whose Youtube video is attached here (I hope… I’m only a few steps above an Amish farmer when it comes to computers and electronics.) Anyway, one line really stands out from the song… “Forgiveness is more than saying sorry.”

Being truly sorry about something you have done is a relationship solely between you and God. Only God will know whether or not you are truly sorry; you might not even know it if you are. However, the ever-present God who has placed us on this Earth with a purpose that we must discover over time knows us inside and outside. He knows when we do something wrong, why we do something wrong, and whether or not we are truly sorry. Think about it… how many times have you said sorry to someone only to save face. “I’m sorry I called your girlfriend a slut, it was wrong and I didn’t mean it.” Meanwhile, inside your mind, you’re saying “I’m really sorry that you’re still dating that slut.”

When (not if) you do something wrong, repenting involves reflecting. Think about these simple questions (adapted from my own philosophy on Elementary Classroom Management… but it applies here):

  • What is the action that was wrong?
  • Why did I do this?
  • How is this action wrong?
  • When I am faced with a similar situation, why won’t I repeat this action?

The following is a question that one of my students posed to me last night. I thought it was really mature, and I am interested in your thoughts. In our discussion about sin and forgiveness of sin, twists were taken that I honestly didn’t think would be. When someone wrongs us, we are often told that “everything happens for a reason,” that some friends are not the person you thought they were, and that you’ll be a stronger person because of it. During the discussions, the following questions were asked, and I’m going to allow opportunity for you, the reader, to reflect on these questions and provide responses

  • They say that “everything happens for a reason.” Well, is that really an excuse for the actions that someone takes?
  • What about “free will?” If God created us to all be good people, and “everything happens for a reason,” what is the role of “free will?” If everything happens for a reason, are we really free?



About jtroutman

Hello! I'm 22 years old and freshly thrown out of college into the real world. I have my BS in Elementary/Special Education, and am a certified teacher. However, I graduated at a time when teachers are out of work. This blog is a space where I can talk about life, love, and an adventure through the twenty-somethings.

Posted on October 31, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. You make a really good point about forgiveness and those questions are more than I would expect from middle schoolers but shows an obvious interest which must be nurtured and acknowledged. They are looking for truth as we all are and these statements that seem contradictory only make it difficult for us to see the truth. I think that is why we learn basic right from wrong as children and then as we mature, realize the vast gray area in the center with all that confusion built right in.
    The way I see it is that we make choices and have free will because God made it so. Since God exisits outside time, He knows the choices we make but He doesn’t force us to make them, most things need to be found out on our own, like when we were little and were told not to climb the tree and we continued to climb it secretly until someone fell and broke an arm. God gives us choices so that we may choose Him. He loves us unconditionally like a father loves a son or daughter because He is the Father of mankind. When we say “everything happens for a reason”, it is because each test or choice we have is meant to lead us closer to Him. We learn the nature of people and discover our true self. Those of us who choose Christ must have faith in Him and trust that He will give us strength to get through each obsticle we arrive at. When I think of “everything happens for a reason” I look at it as a learning experience. Everything holds a life lesson that was formed by God but brought on by our own free will. He has a plan for us but it is our choice to follow His path or resist it. He will continue to throw us obsticles until we understand completely which, I think, is what happens when we get to Heaven.
    ❤ *Zoey*

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