Don Johnson was executed this week for the 1984 murder of his wife. By all accounts, Don was a changed man. He was a Christian leader in prison. His daughter had forgave him for his horrible acts. Old things had become new.
And yet, as I read Shane Claiborne’s brief account of Don’s execution on Twitter, I was a little put off. What about his wife’s family? What about the people that didn’t forgive him? Where was their closure? Did someone who had taken their loved one deserve such a eulogy?
The answer is, “of course not”, but, Grace is offensive that way by design, isn’t it? Grace, by definition, bestows beauty upon that which deserves to never be seen again.
“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
“Not of works lest any man should boast.”
Grace is ok for me, but not for that person over there that deserves the wrath of justice. No, that person deserves punishment and hell and eternal suffering.
Even if, by all accounts, he’s a changed man.
And so, I retreated for a moment to think about this wondrous Grace of God that sees things that I can not or will not. That same Grace that covers that murder on death row covers me and my sins as well. It covers both because falling short is falling short. If you miss the mark by an inch or a mile, it’s all the same; you’ve missed it either way.
So, my prayer this week is that I will embrace this Grace that covers my murdering brother and I. May it take me down a notch or two when I’m feeling smug and self-righteous. May it cause me to see my brother in a new light.