Shawn and I were watching a TV show earlier this week in which a man who was in prison for killing a man was up for parole. The wife & daughter of the victim were at the hearing bent on doing anything to prevent the prisoner from getting released.
I sat watching the show unfold and began to wonder, what does grace look like in this situation? I believe in second chances. I want to live my life as a person of the second chance. But what does second chance living look like in this situation?
Could I offer grace? To a man who murdered my father, brother, mother, husband, best friend.
What about someone who merely betrayed someone close to me?
Could I forgive?
In truth I don’t know. I could say yes, but the truth would only come out if I was forced into a situation like the one in the TV show.
The fact of the matter is, is that I’m supposed to. If I’m going to live my life as a reflection of Christ I must forgive, and I must offer grace.
Jesus didn’t simply forgive those who were prideful, told small lies and stole things. He died for the soul of every murderer on death row too.
To offer grace & forgiveness does not mean that consequences shouldn’t be rendered. It simply means that we look at others as Christ looks at them. It means taking off hatred, slander, and oppression.
As the story unfolded the man who had killed was put in a position to either kill the victim’s wife and daughter or be killed himself. The man, who lived daily with his sin & sought redemption, chose the greater good and refused to kill them. He chose to protect them. The show ended with the daughter telling a police officer to give the man who killed her father a message. “I will be at his next parole hearing. I will be there to support him.”
Granted this was just a script written by writers for the enjoyment of the viewers, but there is a greater message here. The daughter could have continued to hold a grudge against him. She could have continued to live under the weight of unforgiveness. Instead, she chose grace.
If you were faced with a similar situation (doesn’t even have to be similar) how would you handle grace?