Second Chances?

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36 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    In the kingdom of God, there is God’s forgiveness – seventy-seven times

    Between me and my neighbor, there should be forgiveness – seventy-seven times

    In the temporal kingdom, which runs by the Law (and churches and faith-based organizations are included here), forgiveness is not freely given. Punishment, restitution, deterrence, public safety and welfare, restoration and overall justice are part of the equation.

    The Law is a rather blunt edged instrument for maintaining order. In many cases we wish it could be administered like a scalpel.

  2. MG says:

    @Jean – the key part you left out is that in the kingdom of God, there is justice. Intense, holy justice. The wrath of Almighty God towards sin. Poured out, not on me, but on Christ, who took the place of His people. There is no mercy without justice in the kingdom of God.

  3. Jean says:

    MG, The last time I checked, it was men that killed Christ, not the Father.

  4. Em says:

    well… i think that MG is correct – Christ came to do the Father’s will and, therefore, doesn’t that make what happened to Him here, the will of the Father also? something about man having no power over Him except that the Father willed it so? John 10:18 might apply here?

  5. Em says:

    Gene Hackman played Norman Dale so well… memorable… and the head-butting coach, is it not applicable to daily life? aren’t there people abusing their authority to the point that they deserve that knock in the head? seldom happens and isn’t it always the one who retaliates that gets the blame? … well… not always, i guess

  6. Judy says:

    I think that there is a deeply rooted belief held by many Christians in this country that church and pastors are sacred things and cannot be challenged. It may be the old “touch not my anointed”, but I think it goes deeper than that and I’m not sure what the root really is, but there is a strong root based on some untruth, that people hold dearly.

    Churches and pastors are considered at some deep level too sacred to question even if they’ve been proven to have done wrong. It’s like it’s an institution that is exempt from blame. Mark Driscoll is evidence of this. He had “done so much good, his numbers were so good”. How could he possible be bad or do anything that is not blessed by God? People just did not want to believe it.

    The dissonance that comes with finding out that what you held as truth is not truth at all is sometimes too much for people and they cling to what is not truth because they cannot bear the truth. I’m afraid that much of American Christianity suffers from that malaise.

    Or maybe we just believe what we want to. If, say, our pastor sins and is publicly rebuked because of it, I guess we’re all liable to be called out on our secret sins. Maybe we protect those at the top so we can feel safe ourselves.

    I just don’t know.

  7. Disillusioned says:

    Judy nails it.

  8. Jean says:

    “well… i think that MG is correct – Christ came to do the Father’s will and, therefore, doesn’t that make what happened to Him here, the will of the Father also?”

    So, basically what you’re saying is that God is not merciful. His justice required a pound of flesh and when he got it and was satisfied, then he could forgive us. Just a transaction.

    Good 12th century Anselm.

  9. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well not so quick. Who determines when someone gets a 2nd chance. Mark Driscoll is the example – here someone is giving him that 2nd chance by allowing him to preach in his pulpit and some are helping that 2nd chance by providing dough to start a new church – and many right here on this blog are outraged.

  10. Kevin H says:

    I believe with God there will always be forgiveness and second chances when accompanied by repentance. I also believe He metes out his justice, if not directly in this world, then certainly in the next world (although I don’t think we can fully understand how exactly that all happens beyond the obvious of the separation of believers and unbelievers.) And then for the believer, there is still some kind of judgment of works.

    On this earth, I don’t think we are always called to give second chances. We are definitely called to forgive, although I’m not certain if we’re required to forgive in a situation where there is no repentance. But even in a situation where there is repentance and forgiveness, I don’t think that guarantees a second chance. If a convicted child molester repents of his actions, should he be given a second chance to work with children? I say no. And certainly we also have the Driscoll example where he seemingly has not really repented of many of his past indiscretions and problems. A man like that should not be given the pulpit and a second chance at starting a church.

  11. Rob says:

    2nd chances….well, part of that might depend on whether the person actually admits their error. That would include taking responsibility, not placing blame, not spinning the story.

    I’m all for 2nd chances. Seriously. I’m so far from perfect, I have no desire to condemn others for their failings.

  12. Kevin H says:

    Judy,

    I think the problem is with all people, not just Christians. People want to hang on to those idols or things that are important to them and will ignore the truth if they think it will force them to change. But with Christians, certainly one of the pitfalls can be their unhealthy devotion to their church or their pastor or the celebrity megachurch pastor who they’ve actually never even met. There can be healthy devotion to these things. But it certainly becomes unhealthy when one intentionally avoids the truth in order to hang onto what they want to believe.

  13. Bob Sweat says:

    Nice job Kevin! I’m a big believer in second chances. 😎

  14. Kevin H says:

    Bob, you are an inspiring example for such.

  15. EricL says:

    Great article, Kevin H.
    I once heard a sermon on “unsanctified mercy”. The idea was that sometimes we can be too quick to “forgive” or show “mercy” to someone, thus cutting off what God is using to bring them to true repentance. We don’t like to see that friend or loved one squirm, so we try to sweep the problem under the rug for them. We aren’t helping them; we are enabling the sinner.

  16. Kevin H says:

    Thanks for the compliments Bob & EricL.

    EricL: It can be a delicate balance as to handle some, it not all situations. Only God gets it perfect in applying justice and mercy, forgiveness and accountability.

  17. EricL says:

    Sorry, lost the 2nd half of my thought @ 15

    Second chances are greatly needed for all of us. We are all sinners. But, we need to be careful not to confuse that with enabling someone to keep sinning.

  18. EricL says:

    Yeah, what KevinH said @16 🙂

  19. Steve Wright says:

    A really good movie, based on a true story, is McFarland USA. I highly recommend it. It too a high school sports movie centered on the coach – cross country instead of basketball

    That said, like a lot of “based on a true story” there are some historical inaccuracies and one significant one is that the movie is written as a 2nd chance story. (Technically, a multiple 2nd chance story) – The truth is that no such 2nd chance aspect existed in the real life.

    I don’t know what that means but apparently the thought that audiences would like the movie more if it involved a 2nd chance. Americans like a 2nd chance story.

  20. Kevin H says:

    Steve,

    I’ve never researched to get the full true story of Hoosiers. You are correct that “based on a true story” does not mean full historical accuracy. In some cases, the “basing” is very loose. My comparison analysis for this article was speaking to what is portrayed in the movie, not what necessarily happened in real life.

  21. Steve Wright says:

    Kevin, to be clear I was not challenging the accuracy of Hoosiers or say it was a Hollywood invention but rather adding a point that in the movie I reference, Disney (or whoever had the final say on the script) did present it as a 2nd chance story. Obviously for marketing purposes.

    You wrote a good article. 🙂

  22. AA says:

    Thanks for contributing to the blog Kevin, I enjoy your thought-provoking and well reasoned writing. I’ve read much of what you have posted on GFA.

  23. Em says:

    #8 – basically that is NOT what i am saying – poor writing or poor interpretation? dunno

    God’s purpose in sending HIs son was not to prove to us that we are sinners, but rather to provide a resolution to the problem – His righteousness and His justice in agreement with His holiness … that’s mercy, incredible love

  24. Xenia says:

    Good writing, Kevin. I appreciate all the many 2nd chances I have received.

    Merry Christmas, everybody! Off to Fr. G’s house for a parish feast!

  25. Paige says:

    Thank you KevinH….. thought provoking…..

    As you mentioned in #10, opportunities for second chances are definitely conditional and ‘graded’ bythe severity of the failure. Obviously, we are all losers, have all sinned and fallen short… and God is merciful… but slamming someone’s finger in the car door is incredibly different than he multitude of unmentionable heinous acts that some have engaged in.

    Seems to me that ‘bring forth fruits in keeping with your repentance” is a rather key element of any case of restoration. Obviously, we have all seen instances where there was no apparent repentance and/or remorse, just pack up, move and open shop in a different location. Injustice seems to have prevailed. In those cases, and all others, our Hope is ultimately in God’s perfect judgment and justice and final rewards in Eternity.

  26. G says:

    Jean,
    What to Lutherans believe about the cross? Do they believe in substitutionary atonement or penal substitution? Do they not believe that the wrath of God against sin was meted out upon Jesus as our substitute? What do they believe about Isaiah 53?

    5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
    6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the LORD has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    Your #3 and #8 have me intrigued. I could probably go research it, but when you and MLD are around, it’s much more fun to get it from you guys. Thanks in advance.

  27. Jean says:

    G,

    This would be orthodox Lutheran teaching:

    “Let this, then, be the sum of this article that the little word Lord signifies simply as much as Redeemer, i.e., He who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same. But all the points which follow in order in this article serve no other end than to explain and express this redemption, how and whereby it was accomplished, that is, how much it cost Him, and what He spent and risked that He might win us and bring us under His dominion, namely, that He became man, conceived and born without [any stain of] sin, of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, that He might overcome sin; moreover, that He suffered, died and was buried, that He might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owe, not with silver nor gold, but with His own precious blood. And all this, in order to become my Lord; for He did none of these for Himself, nor had He any need of it. And after that He rose again from the dead, swallowed up and devoured death, and finally ascended into heaven and assumed the government at the Father’s right hand, so that the devil and all powers must be subject to Him and lie at His feet, until finally, at the last day, He will completely part and separate us from the wicked world, the devil, death, sin, etc.” Luther’s Large Catechism

  28. Andrew says:

    Good article Kevin. I’m all for giving folks a second chance but sometimes they have never even received a first chance. People are too often ready to judge others without knowing a thing about them.

  29. Em says:

    agreeing with all Kevin, thought provoking in a good way

  30. Kevin H says:

    Thank all for the kind words.

  31. G says:

    Thanks Jean!

  32. Em says:

    reading # 27 … something came to mind… while i know the Lord’s example of the forgiving master and the unforgiving servant, and all our wonderful songs about being forgiven our debt(s)… is our condemnation of sin to be considered a debt or more along the lines of a crime? – we are, after all, lawbreakers… hmmm

  33. Surfer51 says:

    Great post, really enjoyed it, looking forward to more of the same!

    You can write.

    ***

    The NFL Sunday playoff football game in Minneapolis this weekend will be played at Zero degrees with a wind chill factor of negative 15.

    A historical cold game for sure!

    Doesn’t look too good for Seattle Seahawks who are not even close to being used to such frigid conditions.

    Despite the forecast, the visiting Seahawks are still being favored by five points.

    The Minnesota Vikings have home team advantage here, well sort of…

    This will be the Vikings’ first outdoor home playoff game in 39 years.

    As anyone knows the cold is relentlessly unforgiving!

    Thank God for heated benches, helmet heaters,sideline heaters and packets of hand warmers and foot warmers.

    Add to this the coating of gooey petroleum jelly that is going to be slathered from head to toe on the players by the trainers.

    Somehow It keeps your heat from escaping your body in freezing temps.

    This is one game your not gonna want to miss out on from the warmth of your living room.

    Obviously tickets are not selling well and will be selling out on the street below value I bet…

  34. Cash says:

    Good Article, Kevin. Grace is one of the most beautiful concepts in the universe and I think second chances are a beautiful illustration of grace.

  35. Captain Kevin says:

    Good stuff, Kevin! Much, much better than THIS Kevin would’ve submitted. A lot to think about!

  36. Kevin H says:

    CK,

    It’s just too bad there isn’t a “poke” button on this post. Isn’t it? 😉

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