Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Remorse


   Corporations invest millions in training their sales and customer service people to fake competence, concern and gratitude towards the customer.  People have no problem faking anger, even rage, or disgust.  Many have made it an occupation to fake love or affection whether in front or behind cameras.  Response to physical intimacy could be faked and the couple benefit from the scripted rhythm of their duet.  One only needs to see a campaigning politician to find fake generosity and compassion. 

   Award winning actors and actresses fail to act out remorse after cheating on a spouse, even if it means losing the marital assets and the children.  Criminals get convicted over the lack of remorse.  Why can’t they just fake it to get a lighter sentence?  Even the hardened criminals fail to fake it.  What is it about remorse that makes it genuine or nothing?  Where does it come from? 

   The World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases defines antisocial personality disorder to be incapable of remorse and prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, defines dissocial personality disorder as lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another.  According to the same Manual of Mental Disorders although there are behavioral similarities, the psychopath, dissocial and antisocial personality disorders are not synonymous.  A psychopath is also characterized by a lack of remorse, however a psychopath is also described as having shallow emotions (including reduced fear, a lack of empathy, and stress tolerance), coldhearted, egocentric, superficial charm, manipulative, irresponsible, impulsive, criminality with a parasitic lifestyle. 

   The above descriptions are found in varying degrees on everyone.  A personality disorder does not justify any cruel act.  God knowing that we are dust (Psalms 103:14) still expects us to have remorse (Luke15:7).  Remorse does not require a lengthy apology or a peace offering.  It comes from the heart and a short glance at the person’s face would show it and the God who reads the heart will find it (Proverbs 21:2).

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