What is the Sikh View on Second Chances?

As a member of the Sikh community, knowing to forgive is important....

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done,” said Bryan Stevenson, author of the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Religious faiths across the globe, from Christianity to Islam and Sikhism, all make room for second chances. It makes sense considering that nobody but God, Allah, or Waheguru, is considered enlightened enough to be a shining example of virtue. Various Sikh holy scriptures, including the Guru Granth Sahib, are filled with words that encourage forgiveness and suggest the possibility of redemption. What do these scriptures espouse, and how can you apply them in your daily life?

Redemption is Necessary

One of the most powerful quotes from Guru Granth Sahib says,

“Forgiveness is as necessary to life as the food we eat and the air we breathe.”

These words stress the undeniable fact that all human beings are fallible. By giving others a second chance, we recognize our own desire to be forgiven and welcomed back into the fold if we let ourselves or others down. Society cannot exist or progress without forgiveness, because if everyone who fails is segregated from their social and family groups, then the very foundations of society are at peril.

Practical Examples of Forgiveness

Giving others a second chance has various roles to play among those who follow the Sikh faith. Within the home, for instance, both men and women can bring peace to tense situations and practice forgiveness, emphasizing the adoption of tactics that can prevent mistakes from being repeated. Giving people a second chance also extends to business. Sikh business owners can follow the example of companies like Penn Jersey, which provides employment to local members of the community, who are assigned mentors who can provide teachings on values such as commitment, discipline, and love for one’s work. Additional companies that give employees a second chance include I Have a Bean (a coffee company that hires people with a criminal record), Prudential (known for its fair hiring practices), and Cascade (which requires all business decisions taken to benefit the community).

When Someone Has Faith in You

Many people have shown the extent to which being trusted once again, forgiven, and given another opportunity, can completely change a life. For instance, actor Rob Lowe’s return to Hollywood in Parks and Recreation was a godsend after scandals and instability led him to lose potential film and TV projects. Twilight actress, Kristen Stewart, was also caught in one too many personal scandals, but managed to line up many projects despite the bad press. In the end, employers should focus on an individual’s potential, instead of behaviors that can be avoided if the person acknowledges their mistakes and demonstrates a wish to move forward.

As a member of the Sikh community, knowing to forgive is important. Giving others a second chance is also a reminder that your community will be there for you if you ever make a mistake in the future. Forgiveness can take in various aspects of life, including your home, social interactions, and business decisions.

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