I’m sure we have all made mistakes. We have all exhibited some form of at least mildly unacceptable behaviour at some time in our lives. It’s a part of the learning process. However, when someone steps far outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour and commits acts that are immoral/illegal then something must me done. Or at least we feel something must be done.
Recently, I watched from afar as someone is being erased. That’s one of the ways we cope with a broken person – someone who needs to be accountable, and at the same time needs healing. We erase them. We remove all references to them. We start the process of making them invisible. The name and the picture are removed from printed material or from a website. Connections are broken. Rooms are cleaned out. Personnel replaced. Or at a family level, the photos may have to be removed from albums and destroyed.
These actions are often needed as a part of a healing process for those who were damaged by the offender’s actions. It’s not all bad. It’s a way of moving forward and not staying focussed on the hurt. It’s probably even a part of the the process of forgiving.
I’ve heard it explained that being in “sin” is the state of being separated – separated from God. Being erased is a rather vivid image of being separated in a human sense. I’m glad that Scripture seems to tell me that God will not erase me. That there is hope – that the prodigal child can return home. I pray never to be erased from a community or a family. And I pray for healing for both those who must do the erasing, and the ones who are erased.