It took years for the State of California to put my biological father on trial. Ironically, it took longer to get him into the courtroom than it did for him to pay for his crimes. A childhood full of abuse was paid for in just 3 short years! And as I searched for his status on the Megan’s Law website last week, I discovered he lives only 18 miles away from me! A man capable of committing such heinous acts against his own children is free! And yet instead of anger at his sin, I find myself broken over my own sin.
Looking at the website, I can see my vindication in black and white: “lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under 14.” There it is, for all to see, like a scarlet letter that will follow him into his grave. Even worse, when he stands before God, that line will be just one of thousands of heinous sins committed against God. But before you too condemn him to hell, let me ask what your caption would say?? Mine would say, “idolater, fornicator, homosexual, liar, thief, druggie.” Am I anymore deserving of God’s grace than he is?
When I look at my life before Christ saved me, I truly see myself as the worst of sinners. Before I was saved, I always took pride that I never “hurt” anyone, but in reality my sin marred Jesus beyond recognition (Isaiah 52:14, 53:3). There was nothing good in me. I didn’t and still don’t deserve to be chosen by God and forgiven of my sins.
So although my initial reaction is to be fearful that I may see him at the grocery store or mall—or worse yet that he will show up at my home—I can’t help but feel compassion for him as I reflect on how the gospel intersects this situation. If I truly believe that my heart is deceitfully wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and that there is nothing good in me (Psalm 14:1-3), then how can I look at others with condemnation?
Of course, I will exercise wisdom and keep him away from me and my children, but I do feel sorry for him. No one grows up wanting to deeply wound their children, but the wickedness of his heart allowed him to be lured and enticed by his own desires (James 1:14-15).
Several years ago, I wished he would die, but now I find myself praying that God would save his soul and use him to glorify Christ.
After all, Paul murdered Christians and look at how God used Paul to bring glorify to Jesus! In hindsight, I can see hundreds of blessings that resulted from the hundreds of trials I endured as a child.
I cling to 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 and, although Paul is talking specifically about being comforted in religious persecution, I find that the comfort God gave me in these trials has allowed me to bond with others who have received God’s comfort in their afflictions. It’s so evident in this situation that what Satan meant for evil, God meant for good. Rejoice with me in God’s grace!