I just read an article from the BBC that recorded some vandalism in a Montana church. The vandals were three youths who "stole money, smashed computers and windows." When they were caught, the youth had marijuana and pipes on their persons, were charged with the crimes, and may face a jail sentence. However, the church, modeling forgiveness, collected funds to buy "love baskets" for the youth. Several hundred dollars worth of gift cards, Xboxes and controllers, a DVD and a VCR were collected and are to be given to the youth.
As was quoted in the article, many of us have walked similar paths and, yet, have experienced the grace of God. The church in this article reminds me of the bishop that gives Jean val Jean the silver val Jean attempts to steal; this church has modeled the forgiveness God gives to us. As the pastor from Montana has said, "We hope that these gifts help to keep these kids off of the street," let us hope that the grace God grants us keeps us from the temptations to darker places in our own lives.