She trusted them. They stole from her. They thought they had fooled her. They didn’t. They created a story of untruths. What started out as an act of goodwill ended up with stolen treasures, lies, loss of trust and possible loss of friendship. Was it worth it? Was it worth the risk to take things belonging to another? Things that weren’t yous? For what? A few dollars?
Now when they see each other, and they will, they’ll remember. They both will. The thief and the victim. They’ll avoid each other. Unable to look each other in the eye. They’ll both be uncomfortable. For different reasons. Ruined friendships for their children. All because of greed. All because of wanting more. All because of wanting what others have. Was it worth it?
Then there’s the punishment. What’s appropriate? Confront them? Press charges? How do you really prove guilt without finding the stolen objects? Deep down, you know who took the items. You just can’t prove it. How do you confront an injustice when you can’t really prove it? But deep down, deep down you know. And they know you know.
Imagine the fear of getting caught. Imagine the stories the guilty have had to create. Imagine the strain on relationships of those who are guilty. A mother and child. Both involved. Why would the mother put that stress on her child? Why would she lead her child down a path of wrongdoing? Were they that desperate? If so, don’t they know help is available? Would they accept help? Wouldn’t the fear of getting caught and being punished be more embarrassing than asking for help?
Have they done this before? Perhaps this wasn’t the first time they had taken from others. Perhaps they have a history of unpunished wrongdoing. Have they taken advantage of others’ kindness in the past without being confronted or punished?
All the victim wanted was to get her possessions back. No police. No arrest. Just right the wrong. She offered mercy to those who had taken from her. She chose forgiveness. She decided there was too much at risk to publicize the wrong that was done to her. Going public with the offense would cause embarrassment to the guilty. Perhaps. Going public could break up the guilty family. Perhaps. Going public would end the friendship. Perhaps. But was it right to stay silent? Is offering forgiveness and mercy enough? Should all wrongdoings be punished?
I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. Isaiah 43:25
The Bible tells us that everyone has sinned. We were born sinners. We need to right our wrongs. We need to ask for forgiveness. If not, we will be punished. It’s an eternal punishment in the depths of hell. Who wants that?
We have a forgiver. One who offers forgiveness for all our sins. No questions asked. Mercy is offered for admitting guilt. Sure. There may be consequences because of our actions. Wrongs will have consequences. Some consequences and punishments are private. Others public. But forgiveness is always available. Always within our reach. All we have to do is ask.
His name is Jesus. The forgiver of our sins. He will wipe our sins off the map. He will drop them into the depths of the ocean. He will remove our sins as far as the east is from the west. He will forget we ever sinned. Once he has forgiven us. We’re made new. New creatures. Go and sin no more.