Here is the second half of my letter to Bill.
So I prayed. I prayed leading up to your sentencing. I did my best to show you grace on the site. I asked God to give you justice and mercy, and I specifically remember praying that God would ignore any notions I had about how much justice and how much mercy because I was a stupid, broken man with very little qualification to make such a decision. I prayed for you after your sentencing. I believe it was through all of this (the praying, the online interaction, the letters) that I became discontent with being angry at you for what you did and I started wanting to help you. I started believing that you could change. I mean, I knew that you could change. I believed that God was powerful enough to help you if he was willing. But I started to believe that you, too, were ready. That you, too, were willing.
I send you books because I want to help. I am convinced that you really are preparing yourself to take full advantage of your fresh, new start. I can’t do a lot to help and sending a few books here and there is easy for me, especially because you can accept Amazon.com shipments. I’m already on Amazon several times a month buying books for myself and your shipping address is programmed in. Actually, you are probably the best person for me to send books to. I think most of the books we give away never get read. Not only do you read them but you share them with other people who actually read them also. That’s a flippin sweet return on investment if you ask me.
I will continue to send you books at least another time or two while you are in. I’m reading a great one right now that I think you’ll dig by Francis Chan. It’s not about sex addiction or integrity but I imagine a little diversity would be welcomed. Do you have access to any David McCullough or Malcolm Gladwell books? They are also excellent. You’ve never asked me for anything in your letters except companionship (as in: “I’d love to hear from you”). Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read?
I don’t know where to go from here, man. I’m not sure what will happen when you get out. I have asked myself this question. What if Bill was in Georgia? What if he was in my town? Would I be his “real” friend and to what degree? What if he was just passing through? Would I meet him for coffee?
The truth is that I want to be your friend and that I want to buy you coffee and hang out and chat. The truth is that I want to continue to help you become the sort of man who would be immune to the temptation of falling back into your former behavior. Not just for you, but for the exploited victims.
But the truth is that in spite of what I want, and in spite of the man I feel God is calling me to be, I have two young daughters, a mercy-resistant heart, and a belly full of fear.
I honestly don’t know if I am man enough.
You challenge me, Bill. Your friendship and correspondence challenges me in a good way. As messed up as it may sound, I’m thankful for that. When I first learned about you I couldn’t really feel compassion for you. But now that I know you, I do. And I hope that you still write to me.
Conclusion and final thoughts: An Unconscionable Addiction - Part 4