On July 17th I read a Chicago Tribune opinion article about the acquittal of former Healthsouth CEO Richard Scrushy and how the writer Robert S. McElvaine believed that he got a free pass for being a Christian man in front of a southern jury. He writes, " The perversion of Christianity reduces Jesus to a get-out-of-jail-free card." He also continues to talk about how it isn't fair that all your wrongs are wiped away as long as you believe in Jesus Christ. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0507170454jul17,1,4979417.story When reading this article it reminded me of the parable Jesus spoke on in Matthew 20. Let's look there...
1"For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard. 2He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard.
3"About the third hour he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4He told them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' 5So they went.
"He went out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour and did the same thing. 6About the eleventh hour he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, 'Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?'
7" 'Because no one has hired us,' they answered. "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard.'
8"When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, 'Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.'
9"The workers who were hired about the eleventh hour came and each received a denarius. 10So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12'These men who were hired last worked only one hour,' they said, 'and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.'
13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am not being unfair to you. Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? 14Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?'
16"So the last will be first, and the first will be last."
This passage disturbs some Christians because they think that the landowner was not being fair. I believe that this is God's way with all of us. His love for us is equal, from the chaste Bible thumper to the wild sinner. Once that wild sinner comes back to Him, they have the same opportunity of salvation as any other. Just as Mr. McElvaine felt it wasn't fair that Richard Scrushy received a second chance, it obviously was in God's will, and if he truly repents from his sin then God will take him in and love him.
Now does that mean that we have a free pass from sin? I don't believe that we can pull the wool over God's eyes. If we are unrepentant in our heart then we will reap the punishments. God is our Father and he will punish us and teach us but He won't stop loving us and that's the most important thing.