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Dear Thief, we love you and forgive you

NEWS | John Sandeman

Wednesday 3 February 2016

What do you do if you come to work and find your office has been broken into? If you are David Ould, an anglican minister in South West Sydney you tell the thief, via social media you forgive them:

Breakin in at David Ould's church

Break in at David Ould’s church

Dear Thief who broke into our church buildings, we want you to know a couple of things,

We forgive you. You might not believe it but it’s true. Church is the place where we know Jesus’ forgiveness and we want you to know it too.

We love you. These days love is hard to find but Jesus loves us all despite what we’re like and so we love you too. Really. We’d just like a way to show it to you.

We want to help you. You’re in a bit of trouble now, and it’s only going to get worse when the Police catch up with you. But we want to help you out. At our charity Break the Cycle we work with men and women who are in trouble with the police, supporting them and helping get their lives sorted out. Just like Jesus loves us and helps us turn our lives around. We want to help you just like that.

Our door is always open. You didn’t have to kick it down. We’re here all day every day for everybody, no matter who they are or what they’ve done. That includes you. We want to welcome you back.

The funny thing is, we have something far more precious here than what you took. We’ve got unlimited love and forgiveness for you and we want you to have as much of it as possible. It’s yours for the taking. Just get in touch.

With love,

Glenquarie Anglican Church

As the letter indicates, David Ould’s church is a good church for a break and enter offender to find forgiveness – and practical help as they run “Break the Cycle” a ministry practical help for people in trouble with the law.

“Arrived at work this morning to this… Nothing valuable taken – all our Bibles are still here,” Ould twittered this morning. As a ministry of Bible Society, Eternity appreciates this sentiment.

In a more reflective moment, Ould wrote (on the Thinking of God blog):

“The story of the Christian is of the man or woman who experiences God’s break and enter. God bursts into the hearts of men and shines his light so that we will see just who Jesus is and respond to Him in faith and trust and know the glorious forgiveness that He brings. I’m so grateful for this break and enter into my own heart, despite it not being at my own invitation. It was exactly what was needed to break the secret darkness of night that I was living in.

My church is now praying that we would have the opportunity to be involved in such a break and enter in our own thief’s life. It would be wonderful to respond with grace. When one of my church wardens found out his immediate response was “when you catch up with him you’ll have to give him the candlesticks!” He was thinking of the famous scene from Les Miserables.

“We’re getting our candlesticks ready! Will you please pray with us that this break and enter will result in another much larger break and enter?”

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