I have a confession to make: I watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette. I'm not proud of it - but it's the truth.
I totally disagree with the whole premise of the show yet I can't help but get sucked in. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this reality show is about, here's the gist of it. One man meets 25 women and as the weeks go by, he lets go those he doesn't feel the right connection with. They go on dates - one-on-one or group dates - and throughout this entire process the goal at the end is for him to find his fiance. My plan is not to get into the details and deliberate what is all wrong with this picture ('cause believe me - there's a lot wrong with it!). But as much wrong as there is with this television show, believe it or not I did learn a Biblical lesson this past week.
Earlier in the week was "The Women Tell All" episode. It airs one week before the finale where he chooses between the final two women. The rest of the women (or the majority of them anyway) who were let go over the course of the season come to a taping where they relive some of the most talked-about moments that aired on the season thus far.
One of the biggest topics of conversation was about one particular woman - the woman everyone loved to hate. Her name is Courtney and she was mean and manipulative - to the girls' faces and behind their backs - but when she was around Ben (the bachelor) she was a different person altogether. And he fell for her, regardless of several warnings he got from some of the other women in the house.
In fact, he fell for her so hard that she is one of the final two women remaining. There is a 50% chance that she is who Ben will pick and propose to on next Monday's episode.
Now, typically the final two women don't come to these 'reunion' shows. But this time, Courtney made an appearance. She came back to face all of the women who she verbally attacked.
But before she made her appearance - before the other women knew they would be seeing her face-to-face again - they all trashed her. They made mean comments, they high-fived each other over said comments...basically they stooped to her level and came off being no better than her.
And when Courtney entered the scene and sat in "the hot seat" it was no different. They continued to attack her for her attacks on them. Amidst all of this, Courtney sat in her seat and cried and apologized for the way she acted on the show. She owned up to her mistakes and apologized. Now, keep in mind, like I said earlier the final two women don't ever come on this reunion episode (which is filmed in front of a live audience). So Courtney didn't have to come back and face everybody.
She chose to.
And how did the other women react to her apologies? By rolling their eyes, shaking their heads and making comments like "Sorry, but I just don't buy it."
And you know what? I'm not sure if I 'bought' it or not either. She did look very genuine and she did look broken up about what all happened and how she had presented herself on the show. On the other hand, she could just be a really good actress and she could just be wanting to try to salvage what little is left of her reputation from her behaviour.
But as all the other women were basically turning deaf ears to her apologies - heartfelt or not, I'll never know - I couldn't help but be appauled at how they were still treating her. In fact, mid-way through the season, one of Courtney's main enemies - Emily - tried to apologize for how she had treated Courtney and how she may have mis-judged her. Courtney turned a deaf ear to her attempts and everyone was really hard on her for not accepting her apology.
Uh...aren't they all (including Emily) doing the same thing to her right now?
Bottom line - it's not our job to determine whether someone is genuinely sorry for their wrong-doings. We are not the judge & jury. We don't know anyone else's hearts. Not the way God does.
But we are called to forgive.
And that was a good reminder for me this week. A reminder that when someone apologizes to me, it's not my job to determine whether it was genuine or not. Whether I 'buy' it and whether or not they deserve my forgiveness.
I am not their judge & jury. I have only one job...to forgive.