Grace is unmerited favor. What I’m calling extreme grace is the extension of unmerited favor to another person under the most extreme of circumstances. Today I posted a tweet recounting an instance of extreme grace and surveying responses to it:
A while ago I heard a story of grace and forgiveness on CBC radio in which a young woman came to forgive – and then befriend – her father's murderer. The man was overcome with the grace he'd received despite his evil actions. How would you describe that story?
— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) May 25, 2018
I find myself having a mixed reaction to this kind of story. When I listened to the account on the radio, the woman and her father’s killer were talking and laughing together. To be sure, the man fully recognized the evil of his actions and had long ago repented of it (the murder happened in the late 1970s) but I still had a deeply conflicted reaction. After all, there are 7 billion people on earth. Why do you need to be friends with this guy?
Of course, I get why, but that doesn’t remove the discomfort I have with the story or their relationship.
Perhaps you don’t share my mixed reaction. Perhaps you instead are inclined to find that story inspiring. In that case, let me propose an even more extreme example. Consider a man who rapes and murders a child. After he is imprisoned, the child’s bereaved parents forgive the man and over the years they visit him in prison a close friendship develops between the murderer and the child’s parents. Would that be a bridge too far? Or is that likewise an inspiring example of extreme grace?