I just dusted off a copy of "Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus" by Brennan Manning. Manning is one of my favorite authors and this is one of his best volumes.
This story is actually a quotation he used from another author. it illustrates the points of compassion and restoration...
..."Laurens Van der Post relates the story of two brothers. The elder brother was strong, tall, intelligent, an excellent athlete. Sent away to a private school in south Africa where the family lived, he became an admired leader of the student body. His brother was some six years younger. Neither good looking, nor capable, he was also a hunchback. But he had one great gift. He had a magnificent singing voice. (Ven der Post notes; 'I found it easy to identify with this story as I was such a younger brother, even though I couldn't sing')
Eventually the younger brother joined the older at the same boarding school. One day in a cruel outbreak of mob psychology, a group of students ganged up on the younger brother, jeered him, and tore off his shirt to reveal his hunchback.
The older brother was aware of what was going on. He could have gone out and faced the crowd of sadistic students, acknowledged the strange hunchback as his brother and put a stop to the whole sorry mess. Instead he remained in the chemistry lab completing an assignment. he betrayed his brother by what he failed to do.
The younger brother was never the same again. He returned home to his parents farm where he kept to himself and sang no more. Meanwhile the older brother had become a soldier in World War II, stationed in Palestine. One night, lying outdoors and gazing into the starlit night, he realized what he had done to his brother in his school days. His heart told him that he would never have peace until he went home and asked his brother for forgiveness. And so he made the incredibly difficult wartime journey from Palestine to South Africa. The brothers talked long into the night, the elder one confessing his guilt and remorse. They cried together, embraced, and the breach between them was healed.
Something else happened that night. The older brother had fallen asleep and was startled awake by the sound of a full, rich, mellifluous voice soaring into the night. It was the beautiful voice of his younger brother who was singing once again."
I love that story. Such is the power of the forgiveness and restoration of God in our lives.