Takunda Mavima had just wrapped up high school. He had been a model student and was looking forward to start four more years at a college in the fall. Following his graduation ceremony he drove off to an afterparty, riding fast on that expected “school’s out” high. The party was a kick off for these kids on what would be their last summer together.
When the evening came to a close, Takunda got behind the wheel with two friends in the car. He had been drinking. Tragically, Takunda lost control, crashed into an onramp and his two friends were both killed. Timothy See, 17, and Krysta Howell, 15.
Drunk driving is perhaps the most inexcusable reckless decision any of us could ever make. Our vehicles are considered lethal weapons by law and yet people still choose to roll the dice on joyrides.
Tim didn’t have to die. Krysta didn’t have to die. Takunda didn’t have to drive.
And in the midst of our judgment and righteous anger,
something like this happens
Tim’s sister, Lauren See, spoke on Takunda’s behalf in his trial the other day. This is what she said:
“I am begging you to let Takunda make something of himself in the real world — don’t send him to prison and get hard and bitter, that boy has learned his lesson a thousand times over and he’ll never make the same mistake again”
Following her statement, Tim See (dad), walked up to Takunda and wrapped him in a huge hug. He forgave him for taking away his son.
This is a staggeringly similar story to God’s forgiveness upon us for taking his one and only child. Tim chose to invest in Takunda and spare him a punishment that probably wouldn’t even begin to match his crime. He chose forgiveness that wasn’t warranted or expected. Forgiveness that was unfair.
But he did it any way.
That’s what justice looks like.
That’s what love looks like.
Brennan Manning, a frequent flyer through grace, has a wonderful quote on the nature of God:
“This is the God of the gospel of grace. A God who, out of love for us, sent the only Son He ever had wrapped in our skin. He learned how to walk, stumbled and fell, cried for His milk, sweated blood in the night, was lashed with a whip and showered with spit, was fixed to a cross, and died whispering forgiveness on us all.” –Brennan Manning
God shows up in the midst of our unworthiness not after our reparations. He speaks to us immediately after the crime has been committed. He wants us to know he’s not mad. He wants us to know that he’s forgotten our past but hasn’t forgotten us.
What can we do besides drop to our knees before such radical love?
Better yet, who will you forgive today?