>Darth Vader, Forgiveness, & Me

randomlychad  —  April 5, 2011 — 8 Comments

>2007 Disney Weekends #4: Darth Vaderphoto © 2007 Official Star Wars Blog | more info (via: Wylio)

I have a vintage Don Post Studios Darth Vader mask that I got in 1978, or ’79. It is dear to me because it comes from a happy time in my childhood (before my folks divorced), and because it is my one remaining piece of Star Wars gear (my mom gave the rest away–including a Millennium Falcon!).

At the time, it was a little pricey (around $60, I think), so my mom and I went in halfsies on it. Tell you what: that was paper route money well-spent. I was a happy kid that Halloween!

A few years ago, my friend came to visit my wife and I with his kids in tow. They had been friends with our son, but were then living out of state with their mother (think acrimonious divorce). At some point, our son got Darth out of hibernation. I cautioned him to be careful. We all took pictures. The kids played with the mask for awhile, then promptly forgot about it.

A little later, our friend’s daughter somehow managed to sit against the helmet, squeezing it between her body and the couch where it had been left. It cracked down the back.

In the ensuing moments, we had a choice to make: did we hold our friend accountable for the mishap, struggling though he was to make ends meet, or should we release him from any obligation?

Cliché, but what would Jesus do in a similar circumstance? My wife, the helmet being mine, left the final decision up to me.

In that moment, there was only one clear choice: I had to lay something precious down, and release my friend from any culpability arising from his daughter’s negligence. (I would estimate that the mask was worth +/- $500 at the time; in fact, one like mine sold for US $489 just last month).

Honestly, I didn’t have to let them play with it at all, but I did. I could have put it away when they were done, but I didn’t. Which is to say that the fault wasn’t all a little girl’s. So I forgave.

All this gets me to wondering how the homeowner in Mark 2:1-12 felt. He could have fixated on the fact that his roof was ruined by the men lowering in their paralytic friend, or taken ahold of a higher truth: someone was healed and forgiven in his house! Likewise, I could have demanded payment from my friend–after all, parents bear legal responsibility for their children’s actions. But would that have honored Jesus?

The tension that day in my house was between law and grace. And I chose grace. Not that I have always done so, mind you (just ask my wife and kids!), but that day I did. And I don’t regret it one bit.

Although it doesn’t say so in the text, I like to think that those four friends, long after their previously paralyzed friend had walked home, stayed behind to effect some roof repairs.

By the way, I have a cracked Darth Vader helmet for sale cheap! Offers being entertained. (Just kidding: it’s not for sale. Unlike the roof in the biblical text, my helmet is not reparable, but that’s okay: its sentimental value has not diminished one iota).

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Great post and a great story. When my kids break something like that of mine I say to myself, “children show property the respect it deserves.” 🙂 Sorry about the mask though …

    • Thanks, Russell!

  • seekingpastor

    Gah--I could feel my blood pressure rising just reading this. I hate when things like this happen. But--good job handling it.

    • I know the feeling, but what could I do? The guy was cash-strapped, trying to pay bills, alimony, child support… Figured he needed the mercy.

  • Michelle

    You know, I've often wondered about that roof too……..

    Grace or law….I've had that battle/conversation too with my husband on different occasions. I tend to side with grace, though I was very disappointed that when my rose bush (a gift from my mother) was snapped off at the base, nobody came and told me at the time (kids playing outside), but I was told what happened the next day. It saddened me, more than angered me, that the person responsible didn't own up.

    But there is a time for law also. And I think you chose wisely.

  • Good job handling the mishap. I hope I could have handled it that well.

    Great post!
    My recent post Monday Questions 2

  • I too had a treasure (not a Darth Vadar Mask) but a non-replaceable 3 foot high ceramic statue of Biblical Ruth holding grain just gleaned and praying with bowed head. My grandson looked at her, and took a run hitting her on purpose and breaking her into three pieces. Talk about the hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach !! I understand. My husband glued her together and she was almost like new -- -- -- then one day we let our dogs in the house. So happy they jumped and ran and hit my Ruth – and there she went again into pieces. A second repair was completed, and she is now in a safer place.

    • Thank-you for dropping by to read and comment! What a story! Oh, my! I can hardly fathom something like that getting broken not just once, but twice! Glad she's in a safer place now.