"Lives that flash in sunshine, and lives that are born in tears, receive their hue from circumstances."-Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
People judge others often, but they fail to think about the circumstances and backgrounds that those they judge grew up in. They fail to contrast their own circumstances, possibly a nurturing environment, to that of a criminal, most likely not all that great: maybe poor, maybe abusive, maybe stressful. It's easier to forgive people, to love people, to overlook mistakes when you attempt to understand people, when you try to understand the experiences they've been through, the families they grew up in, the people they called their friends, the role models that have encouraged them, the people that have hurt them, disappointed them, or put them down. Circumstances make a profound impact on someone's character. The experiences they encounter mold people into who they are today. I grew up around good friends...mostly hung around church friends. In school, I hung around those who respected me, encouraging, supportive. I think I was pretty sheltered. I didn't have close friends who were into smoking pot, drinking alcohol, sex, parties. But what if I didn't grow up around the people I did or in the environment I did? What if I grew up in an abusive environment? Or poor? Would I be jacking car parts? Stealing from stores? How many people out there could have gotten straight A's in school but didn't because they didn't grow up with the support and emphasis in doing well in school like I did? I totally respect the people that could resist their unsupportive environment and be decisive about what they want from life and pursue it.