Crime and punishment

By Dave Henning / July 17, 2014

Then his master summoned him and said to him, “You wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  And should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?”- The Unforgiving Servant, Matthew 18:32-33

In Chapter 2 (“How I Almost Killed My Mother”) of One Way Love, Tullian Tchividjian references the Parable of the Two Sons (Luke 15).  The author states that he has much in common with the prodigal son- the only difference being that Tullian was kicked out of the house at age 16.  Pastor Tchividjian observes that the father in the parable knows something that we don’t know- that in order for him to win his son’s heart, he has to risk losing him altogether by giving him something even more dangerous and reckless than his original request for half of the inheritance: grace.  The father gives the son the very opposite of what he deserves.  He deserves punishment.  The prodigal son is acutely aware of his offense.  He needs forgiveness.

It goes without saying, Pastor Tchividjian notes, that in our everyday lives bad behavior and poor performance rarely elicit that kind of response:

“The truth is, we are much more comfortable with conditionality, with two-way relationships in which we love those who treat us well and punish those who hurt us, than we are with anything resembling unconditional love.”

Today’s question: What person directly/indirectly responsible for your vocation loss has been most difficult to forgive?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Grace or condemnation”

About the author

Dave Henning

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