Recently, there has been a renewed interest in discussion about Virginia Tech’s former talented, yet controversial quarterback, Michael Vick. The renewed interest in talking more about Michael Vick is being fueled by his latest success as the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and sparked further by a recent comment that President Obama made in a conversation with the Philadelphia Eagle’s owner, Jeff Lurie. The main controversy stems around the question of whether Michael Vick should be accepted and perhaps even forgiven for his clearly horrific behavior toward dogs and his past involvement in a dog fighting ring, even after having served his time for the crime–21 months in federal prison. President Obama was thankful that the Eagles were giving him a second chance at success. Do you think he should be allowed to play after the horrible things he did? Does Michael Vick, or really do any of us deserve any second chances?
This is a very important question and one that each of us clearly needs to think about and carefully consider! Are there conditions necessary for forgiveness? Is forgiveness limited? Are there some things so horrific that they should never be forgiven? There is a spectrum of opinion out there; many finding it difficult or even impossible to forgive. I believe there is much needing to be learned through this and even through that world changing day of the 04-16-07 VT Massacre. There is much that you personally should consider relating to forgiveness and this idea of giving second chances.
What is forgiveness anyway? You may wish to review that important article that I wrote back on 06-20-09: “Apologizing, Forgiveness and Reconciliation,” where I even referenced the situation with Michael Vick. Forgiveness is the releasing of a debt or offense. It is you being for giving to a person in some way (if only giving the benefit of the doubt), despite what negative thing they may have done. GOD requires us to forgive, but not to do so automatically upon an offense. There must immediately be a willingness to forgive, else a resentful and bitter attitude will form in your heart. Since forgiveness is a promise, it means that you agree to not use the offense that is in question against the person offending, in any way. It means you will not criticize them for that offense and you will not speak negatively about it with others. Forgiveness is conditional, however; Repentance is the condition. Time is not a part of forgiveness, nor is there the need to see evidence of repentance before granting forgiveness. When forgiveness is given, it gives the person who has offended another or a second chance.
Is there anything that you have ever done where you have wanted another person to forgive you? Have you ever wanted to have a second chance to get something right? Most certainly, if you have any interaction with others there will at some point be the need to be forgiven. We are all different people and we all do things at times, either incidentally or maybe even on purpose, where someone else ends up being hurt or offended. We need personal forgiveness and we need to be people willing to forgive and people who are forgiving, whenever there is the acknowledgement of wrong. We all need second and even third and fourth chances in some areas of our lives.
Yes, our actions always bring consequences. Even when forgiveness is granted, there will still be the need to build back whatever was torn down or harmed. That is reconciliation, or making things right. In the case of Michael Vick, he has admitted what he did as being horrible and morally wrong. He has also paid the price legally, in serving time for his offenses. If you will not give Michael Vick a second chance and refuse to forgive him because his past actions were so deplorable, then you are guilty of offending and in need of forgiveness yourself.
The Bible is clear here as well. You are not automatically forgiven before GOD, just because Jesus took the punishment for your sin. Forgiveness and second chances are given to you when you acknowledge your sin as an offense to GOD’s Holiness and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior. Thank GOD, that as long as we are living, we all have the opportunity for second chances!