Holding People in Their Mistakes

In the book Growing Down by Barry J. Robinson, he writes about this very common attitude:

“Holding people in their sins is a popular pastime. Few of us can resist it. I know something wrong that you have done and, no matter where it falls on the continuum of wrongdoing, it has lodged squarely in my mind. It is the way I see you whenever I look at you from now on. The woman who had an abortion at eighteen. The man who got caught cheating on his wife. The person who failed at his job.”

“And yet, how simple it is to let someone go, to unlock our hold on their sins, and release them to live a new life. It is what human freedom is all about – both the freedom we give another from releasing them from their past and the freedom we receive from choosing to be our deepest and most loving selves.”

He relates a story about a man named Joe and therapist Milton Erickson to illustrate the point. An excerpt about “You can if you’re a gentleman” can be found here.


  1. Why was I feeling damned? Well,..I was so busy inquiring about ‘things’ that I didn’t actually EVER do my homework.

  2. Brings to life…he/she who is without sin can cast the first stone! Here is an imaginary scene that bothered me though in my callow youth. What if the person who gets off because of such heroic mercy, scurries off in glee to yet another orgy. Released to sin again and be rescued by an incontestable divine rebuttal. While I stayed at home doing piss dull homework and feeling damned. 😀

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