John Thweatt writes a fascinating post on the challenge of showing grace when a registered sex-offender moves in to your community, and potentially your church:
Recently I’ve faced a situation in my neighborhood that has really caused me to stop and consider the power of the Gospel and the need for God’s grace. While Kim and I were at the beach our girls came running to us saying, “Mom, Dad! A sex offender is moving into our neighborhood!” After a few minutes of excitement I discovered that a sheriff deputy had posted a notice that a registered sex offender was moving into our neighborhood.
I sat on the deck of the condo and thought about our neighborhood. We live in a great community. On our street alone there are 23 children under the age of 16 and one of the things we’ve enjoyed is a real sense of safety. Our children walk around the block, they ride bikes, they cruise the neighborhood in the golf carts, and they swim down at the lake in the commons area…it is often like a scene from one of the old TV shows set in the 50’s. I love our neighborhood and as I thought about the neighborhood I wondered if all of that was going to change…would we still feel that same sense of safety, would we still feel free to let our children roam the neighborhood.
I also thought about the man who was moving into our community. I won’t go into detail about what he did, but it is suffice to say he is a registered sex offender who was found guilty, who served time, and is now free. How would I respond to him? Would I be the first in line to run him out of the neighborhood on a rail? Would I shun him? Would I treat him like the woman in the Scarlet Letter? Would I place “GO HOME!” signs in his yard? I knew that I had to make some real choices and that the choices I made would be a testimony of what I actually believed about the Gospel.
Read the rest here. This is something I’ve dealt with before and I think within the right boundaries and parameters we still must find ways to show God’s love and grace to others.