Punching the other cheek: An open letter to a thief
June 20, 2015 by Paul McKeever
A friend of mine, who has a popular radio show, reports that somebody smashed the door window of his parked car and stole a number of items, including his passport and a Tim Horton’s pre-paid card. Worse though, the thief stole my friend’s sense of security. He wrote an open letter to the thief, expressing his hurt. He told the thief that the thief could never steal his faith in Christ, that he would pray for the thief, and that the thief should try the Nutella doughnut at Tim Hortons. I have a different message for the thief:
Dear guy who broke into [my friend’s] car:
You’re lucky in one sense: [my friend]’s a Christian. This means that he treated you on par with an innocent person, even though you are guilty. No doubt, you’re the sort who counts on that.
Keep going. I’m not a Christian. The only God I worship is reality…which implies justice…cold, unforgiving, merciless, uncompassionate justice. You’re smiling right now, figuring that you got something for nothing. But there aren’t nearly as many people like you as you might like to believe. You’re not a wolf hiding in a big faceless pack. You’re a wolf alone in a field. And, perched in a trees all about that field are a significant number of people like me. Not anywhere near the number of Christians, but that doesn’t matter. It only takes one of us (acting, at all times, lawfully). Keep going. Do it again. Justice may escape you in the short run, but – I guarantee you this – justice is coming. You’re going to suffer (pursuant to the law). It’s going to hurt. It will not hurt more than the sum total of the hurt that you have inflicted…but it will be equal to the sum total. And, if I know people like you 1/8th as well as I think I do, that’s going to be an extremely painful sum. A sum so large that, while you remain alive, you’ll probably wish you were dead.
Don’t waste your time apologizing to the likes of me. I don’t forgive. People like me never forgive. We only restore justice. I don’t care if you had a bad childhood, or if you drew the short straw, or if you were peer-pressured into doing what you did, or if your alleged god allegedly told you to swipe a passport so that you can harm even more people, or if you were drunk, or if you were starving. I don’t care. Your misfortune is not a license to take anyone’s life, liberty, or property without his consent.
And don’t go thinking that all will be good with the likes of me if you simply pray for forgiveness or go to a confessional. That may give you comfort but, from my perspective, it will have no more effect than if you sing to yourself in the shower. You can’t wash away what you’ve earned on this physical planet, in this physical life, and you can’t pray it away, either. You’re not in debt to god. You’re in debt to a Tony Soprano, or a Harry Callahan, or a Mr. A.
If I were you – and I never will be – I’d be spending a bit of time trying to figure out how you can repay [my friend] – and your other victims – fully. And as soon as possible. May I suggest paying [my friend] for everything of [my friend]’s that you destroyed or stole, and that you call-in to his radio program both to apologize, and to re-assure him that you’re never going to do anything like this again…to anyone? I say this because, if you haven’t made it right, you’re going to wish you had.
Tick tock loser. Tick tock.