Today, I have a new mailbox. A mailbox which represents grace and forgiveness. Last weekend a few boys found entertainment in destroying mailboxes with baseball bats. Not just a few, but over sixty mailboxes were destroyed that night. The police became involved and reality quickly hit the boys and their families. The next morning the boys went to each household to offer their apologies. Some people were angry and felt they should be punished. Others laughed it off as teenage mischief. A little teenage mischief turned into a federal offense which could result in jail time. These boys’ parents have made them apologize, sell their vehicles to pay for damages, and today installed new mail boxes. Does this excuse the mistake they made? Do they deserve further punishment? Some may say its the beginning of a life of crime. But then again, maybe they’ve learned a lesson and will turn away from similar actions in the future.
Matthew 6:12 says, ”Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us” (NLT). It was difficult to look into the eyes of these boys and their families and say they deserve to go to prison for destroying my mailbox. I don’t agree with their actions, but I believe we have been called to forgive them just as we have been forgiven. “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12(NIV). Most of us desire grace and forgiveness for our children and even for ourselves when mistakes are made. The least we can do is to offer that same gift to others. Its true these boys should have followed this Golden Rule to begin with, but imagine how receiving forgiveness from so many could affect their lives. How much differently could their lives be if the people in those sixty homes remained angry and refused forgiveness?
Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (NIV). Most things in life are more difficult to forgive than a busted up mailbox. Whether we are hurt financially, physically, or emotionally, forgiveness is never easy. But because of His mercy and love for us, we must find a way. “You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you,” Psalms 86:5 (NIV). If we ask, our heavenly Father is gracious enough to forgive each and every sin we commit each day. He will not deny His love just because we messed up again. “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love,” Psalms 145:8 (NIV).