This is about redemption and repentance.
Terry is a friend I have known since 8th grade. We are still friends, though our lives have taken different paths.
Terry married his wife soon after graduating from high school. They had a baby while I was still in college. They bought a house while I was still in law school.
They raised three children, all of whom went to college. This is a story about their middle child, a son, whose name shall be changed to protect his dignity. Let us call him “Junior.”
While Junior was attending a university in a different city, numerous telephone callers to the home of his parents asked for Junior. After a number of calls, Terry asked one of the callers to tell him what he was calling about. Terry identified himself as Junior’s father and offered to help. Then he did help.
The caller was a bill collector for a credit card company. Terry said his son had no credit cards. Terry was wrong. Terry, upon being convinced that Junior owed money, paid the credit card bill over the phone. That seems like an indulgent parent, bailing out his young adult child. I will tell you the rest of the story, and you will admire Terry as a hero to parents everywhere.
You should know that Terry pays his bills on time. He usually pays his entire monthly statement for credit cards, leaving a zero balance. As a result, he has an excellent credit rating, built over time. He was paying for his son’s college expenses and did not know why Junior would need to run up a credit card debt. He certainly could not relate to ignoring billing statements.
So after paying off Junior’s credit card debt, Terry reached his son and informed him that he had learned of the debt and paid the debt. Next he informed Junior that now he owed his parents and, since he owed his parents for a debt of several thousand dollars incurred by him as a surprise to them yet paid by them, he needed to quit college and move home. He was offered free room and board while he worked to pay his debt. Junior complied and got a job.
And so it was until one snowy day Junior’s father returned home from driving a truck throughout a snowy night. Terry was surprised to find Junior in bed. He gently inquired why he had braved the storm but his son had not. Junior explained that he called his work and told them that he would not be coming in because his car was snowed in on the driveway. So, since he was not working, he was sleeping in.
Terry did not empathize with the situation. He told Junior to move out of his house. Immediately.
Junior called his mother at work. (Apparently, she had gotten her car out of the driveway.) He whined at how unreasonable his father was being. He asked his mother to intervene for him.
His mother agreed to speak to his father on Junior’s behalf. She said, “Sure, I will ask your Dad to let you stay … until the weekend, so, you know, you have time to find a place to move.”
They were a united front, which is good for parents to be.
So Junior moved out, worked until he could pay his parents back for the unauthorized credit card debt, returned to school, graduated, got married, became a father, and has, so far as I know, been living happily ever after, with great respect for his parents and with genuine understanding of the temptations of misusing credit cards.
There are great advantages to having strict parents. His parents love Junior enough to redeem him. Look at what “redeem” means. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/redeem
Does that remind you of anyone? It is Good Friday. Our Heavenly Father redeemed us. Praise God!