How can you tell the difference between a prodigal and a wolf?
Last semester, we had a journalism student suspended from the CMU journalism department for making death threats against the faculty.
I was one of the reporters working on that story and knew that student to be an unstable and possibly dangerous person who might go too far.
My heart stopped when I spotted that same person sitting a couple rows across from me in church a few weeks back.
“Christianity is not for people who never did anything wrong but for people who never did anything right,” my dad says.
Church is supposed to be a haven for lost sheep and prodigals, a soul hospital where God’s grace can forgive and heal anyone, even sick, evil monsters who deserve the opposite of such unconditional love.
But when I saw that man sitting there, I felt no charity or pity for him, only protective concern for the people around us and a dark mistrust towards him
After the service, I kept an eye on him and heard he had been asking the help desk about the children’s ministry. That was a red flag. I gave the secretary his name and information, explaining who he was and informing them that he was someone who should not be allowed to work around kids.
A couple well-meaning, Christian friends reprimanded me afterwards, not for informing others of a possible threat, but for not having a spirit of grace towards him as Jesus would have.
Jesus, who ate and drank with sinners, and even prayed for the forgiveness of the Roman soldiers pounding nails through his hands, surely would have shown a lot more grace towards that student than I did, they said.
After all, Jesus’ immortal parable of the prodigal son is about accepting and loving people who make bad choices. Didn’t my attitude reflect more the judgmental and unaccepting elder brother of the story?
Wouldn’t Jesus have shown more forgiveness to that student than I did?
That student does need forgiveness, but he also needs justice.
Forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation. To me, forgiveness means emotionally releasing someone from your own bitterness, harboring no ill will toward them. It does not mean the trust is instantly restored.
There is a difference between a prodigal and a wolf.
One of the most inescapable facts of life is that we are all imperfect. We all have our vices, flaws and intoxicatingly tempting tendencies to make choices that are unhealthy, unethical and damaging to ourselves and to others.
The curse of being human is that our very nature can be its own worst enemy.
I believe change is possible. I have seen lives turn around for the better. Some can honestly face the mistakes they have made and start over in the right direction. Burned bridges can be rebuilt, and broken hearts can be mended.
I forgive that student for the bad name he gave our department and for the fear he put into the hearts of people I care about. I truly hope he matures and has a happy, wonderful life.
But for now, I just don’t trust him around the sheep.
Leave a Comment
Like us on Facebook
- Kellie: We miss miss you Carolyn. You still are remember on the socc…
- anonymous: I know this girl was in the wrong, but, put yourself in her …
- : What is the standing cement block structure going to be for?…
- 5k: Solved the case!! …
- : SOLVED THE CASE …
• Is your baby graduating CMU? Place a personal greeting and photo in CM Life's Baby Graduates special pages. Download the form here
• Contact local movers in Mount Pleasant to help with all of your moving needs.
• Download Campus Cash Coupons!
• Search for local apartments
• Add your link here