I grew up across the street from a kid who had a difficult life. I think his parents, although loving, were pretty hard on him. They were considerably older than most parents with kids our age.
He was always a bit overweight which was also a struggle. He spent a great deal of time at our house.
We always enjoyed having him around along with the other 8 – 10 kids who spent the summer camped out in our garage.
Our neighbor went to prison 16 years ago for allegedly committing a serious crime. I’ve written him through the years. In September, he was released. Seems like good news for him, huh?
I’m not so sure.
You see, when you do bad stuff, society doesn’t forgive easily. In some cases, it is understandable. We have to draw boundaries. And yet, it is painful for folks to be isolated, regardless of the circumstances.
The cool thing about being a person of faith is that you can rest assured that whatever your offense, it’s OK. There is no punishment, no prison time, no ostracization – it’s easy.
I, on the other hand, have a tougher time forgiving and moving on. I still remember Eric Thompkins tripping me on the patio at school in the 9th grade in front of EVERYONE – totally humiliating! God has forgiven him for that, me, no so much.
My former neighbor’s struggle with reentry to society has given me perspective on second chances. When you see it up close, it makes you reexamine your own feelings on forgiveness.