About 3 years ago(when I lived in South Africa) whilst attending a friends party I had the most strangest of conversations with a young man in his early 20s whom I hardly knew. I had met him on several occasions in the past but had never exchanged more than just greetings. Anyways on this night things where a bit different, this guy sat me down and said; “Shula, there is something about you that makes me want to confess to you what I have done,” and so he began to speak.
His confession was long and detailed, I wont bother to elaborate on it but in brief this handsome looking young man was awaiting a prison sentence because he had been accused of rape. As the incident had occurred in a city 6 hours away no one in the town we where living in knew of what he had done, not even his family. He neither tried to paint a positive picture of himself or absolve himself of the wrong he had done, it was almost as if he was thirsty for mercy, longing for someone who would hear him out without any judgement.
If he only knew just how difficult it was for me to hear his confession. On various occasions over the years I have helped girls of all ages deal with the trauma of sexual abuse. I know what terrible consequences a lot of these girls have to live with if not given the proper help. What makes it worse for the girls is that most times the men who have committed this crime against them never get caught. It makes me mad! I wish I knew what the young man saw in me,suremy face was serene but my heart was ANGRY. I had to pray desperately for some Jesus love because friend, at that time I was no way near feeling compassionate.
I never did talk to the young man after that evening, I dont know if his serving time and I don’t even remember his name anymore. His story makes me think a lot on difficult topics such as forgiveness,grace and mercy. At least he was repentant for what he had done but what of all those others who have absolutely no qualms for all the wrong they do? Should the same measure of forgiveness and grace be extended to them?
It is so easy to show grace and forgiveness to those who we think deserve it but how about those that you secretly wish they suffer for the rest of their lives for the pain they have caused you i.e that parent who was never there for you when growing up or that person who broke your heart or that person who makes your life a living hell at school/work /Facebook?
Jesus left one commandment for all his followers it is so simple but oh so difficult to live out everyday : LOVE ONE ANOTHER.