In his book, Jesus the Fool, Michael Frost recounts an episode of Current Affair. The episode focused on a young man who was driving home one afternoon having drunk too much and who lost control of his vehicle and killed a little girl. He was charged for manslaughter and found guilty but because of good behavior and a previously unblemished record, the judge put him on a good behavior bond for a few years.
The deceased girl’s parents were infuriated! How could the life of their daughter be worth so little? The parents decided to sue the young man. The case went to court and the judge fixed a sum to be paid by the youth to the parents of the girl.
The judge’s decision was not unexpected, but what was quirky about the decision was the manner in which the young man was sentenced to pay the sum of damage. The young man was to pay the plaintiffs one dollar a week for some considerable number of years. He had to write a cheque for one dollar, made out in the name of the deceased girl, and pay it on the day of the week that he had killed her.
You may sense the parent’s grief at their loss. You might appreciate their frustration at the light sentence. If you found yourself in a similar circumstance, you might sue for damages. You can imagine the relief the parents felt when the judgment was handed down. Then the unthinkable happened. After a number of months, the boy stopped making the payments. Why couldn’t this man even manage a dollar a week?
The reporter went to visit the man. As the young man faced the camera, he sobbed with uncontrollable remorse and through his tears he wailed, “It’s not having to pay a dollar that I object to. In fact, I’ll pay anything. I’ll spend the rest of my life in prison. I’d sacrifice anything rather than write those checks.” His eloquence was shattering as he explained that those checks were a constant reminder to him that he wasn’t yet, and never would be, forgiven of his mistake. “I just want to know that they forgive me!” he wept. “I would do anything for that.” And yet, when the reporter returned to the parents, it was clear that they had no intention of forgiving the young man. In fact, at the end of the TV segment, the parents were taking the man back to court!
“I just want to know He forgives me!” Isn’t that the cry of heart? Isn’t that the plea of people in this world? “I just want to know that God forgives me?”
Our heavenly Father is not like those parents. Our Father forgives willingly and freely for the sake of Jesus Christ! Drink in some of the words from Paul’s letter to the Romans, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ … God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. … God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:1-11)
This is the “same old, same old message” that God teaches us again and again and instills in our heart and mind so that we can share it with others. There is no other message on earth like it!