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They Were Easy

14 October 2012 by Brad Williams

The young man sitting across from me looked smug. His parents, out of desperation more than hope, had begged him to come to see me for counseling. His lips made the sort of smile that is born of nervousness, yet his eyes still held the sort of bravado in them that made the smile look more a sneer than any sort of expression of happiness.

I both loathed and loved him. My heart was seething mix of despair and anger. I wanted to reach this young man. I wanted to reach him for his sake and for his parent's sake. They were dear people. They were loving people. And they had been robbed by their son.

The boy that they had bounced on their knee had grown up to be a worthless man. He was addicted to gambling, and he had run up debts he could not pay with both reputable companies and the kind that get your fingers broken. So he had stolen his parents' checks, he had bounced checks all over town. He stole their credit cards. He looted their bank funds. He ruined their retirement. And there he sat, with a half-sneer, only coming because his parents had begged him.

I talked to him about the gospel, and he knew it forward and backward. He knew all the right answers. He knew about Jesus' suffering and death and resurrection. He knew that salvation came by grace through faith. He said he had been saved. His actions over the last few years belied any confession of faith, and even when I pressed him about what he had done, he seemed uncomfortable, but not repentant. Rather, he was aggravated at the awkwardness of my bringing it up to him.

Finally, I told him what I thought his problem was. I told him that in my opinion, he was a coward. At last, he seemed interested. I asked him when he owed his bookie, why didn't he rob a bank to pay back the money? He scoffed. I asked why he didn't just steal from his bookie instead of his parents? He acted like he didn't know why, so I told him. I told him that he stole from his parents because he knew they wouldn't kill him. He stole from his parents because, bless their hearts, they would not let him rot in jail. He stole from them because they were easy. He stole from them because they loved him. He stole from them because he knew that they loved him as a son. As a son!! How could he? How could he rob those who had only lavished grace and mercy and love upon him since the day that he was born? Parents who let him live in their house to this day. Parents who fed him. Parents who wept for him. Parents who loved him with broken hearts.

He couldn't deny it. He couldn't answer the logic of it.

And neither can I. He wasn't the only thief in the room, after all.

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