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Who should get a second chance?

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Second chances are great but who ‘deserves’ them?  Do we reserve ‘second chances’ for people we like or who are ‘like us’?  Who decides? And how?  These are all really tough questions especially if you have been the victim of a crime or  someone close to you has been hurt or killed in a crime. We like to think we are a tolerant society.  We aren’t.  There are very definite limits to our tolerance.  When those limits are exceeded there is no ‘second chance’ and no forgiveness.13463f986b12192aa04db88409aea635

Alana Syvret’s statement regarding Karla Homolka illustrates the limits of social tolerance; “People like that don’t deserve second chances.”  When a Karla Homolka moves in next door  or sits beside you at a picnic, tolerance goes out the window;

“. . . for all I know, I was sitting next to her last year at the (end-of-classes) picnic.”

“This is scary. What do you tell your children? You never expect something like that here. It’s a calm, collected community.

“I’d like parents to step up and make a stink,” said Syvret, who has two children at Centennial Park. “I don’t think it should be left alone. If it hadn’t surfaced, we would have never known. I could have sent my kids there for a birthday party.

“I feel bad for her kids, but I don’t deserve to be uncomfortable sending my kids to school. People like that don’t deserve second chances.”

Karla Homolka’s return to Châteauguay sends shock waves through Quebec community,   Paul Delean,  Postmedia News | April 19, 2016

Alana Syvret says in an outright way what many hide deep in their heart in the attempt to appear compassionate.  Alana is openly selfish and judgmental;  “I feel bad for her kids, but I don’t deserve to be uncomfortable sending my kids to school. People like that don’t deserve second chances.”  Good for you, Alana, for being so honest about it!  I harbor this selfish judgmental attitude in my own heart as well.  May God have mercy on us!  May God forgive us both!  May God have mercy on us all – including Karla!

forgiveness-quote-2I don’t know what Alana Syvret’s religious beliefs are or if she has any; but I claim to be a Christian.  Alana Syvret reminds me of just who and what I can be – a selfish, unforgiving, judgmental hypocrite.  As a Christian I can talk forgiveness but can I walk it?  Jesus tells us plainly; “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matthew 6:15) And; “Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:1,2)  Can people change for the better?  When we say ‘no’ we condemn people forever – no second chances for them and for us!

None of us deserve a second chance, yet this is precisely what God provides for us; “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) None of us deserve His Grace; “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

The awful and awesome truth of Christianity is that people do get ‘second chances’.  Everybody does no  matter what they did.  The Bible tells us so:

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:6-10)

This is awesome news because I always need a second chance.  There are many things that I have done that I have needed forgiveness for and received that forgiveness.  And I’m a sinner saved by this grace.    This is awful news because I don’t have the capacity to extend this same grace to everyone else.  I am limited and so is my ‘tolerance’.   I can’t forgive  on my own strength.  God help me!  I need His strength!

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

Thank you, Jesus!

 

A half truth is the worst kind of lie.

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It’s hard when someone you respect says or writes something that you feel is beneath them.  You ask yourself; ‘Why did they say that?  They know better!’  Then your mind moves towards darker reasoning; ‘If they know better and they said it, what is their purpose? Is it to shock and get more people to read their stuff?  Or do they think that their readers don’t know any better so they can go ahead and build their argument on the sand of ignorance because it sells! ‘  Half truths always leave you in a dark place.

Chris Hedges writes; “The Christian religion embraces the concept of ‘holy war’ as fanatically as Islam does.” This is half true but not all true.  The part that is left out makes the statement the worst kind of lie. It leads you think that the holy war that Christianity embraces is the same kind of war that  supposedly is embraced by Islam. It leads you to think that Islam embraces ‘holy war’ and that is a statement I wouldn’t  care to make given that I am not Islamic.  Let the Muslim people speak for themselves.

Let’s take a look at the context of Chris Hedges statement;

The Christian religion embraces the concept of “holy war” as fanatically as Islam does. Our Crusades are matched by the concept of jihad. Once religion is used to sanctify murder there are no rules. It is a battle between light and dark, good and evil, Satan and God. Rational discourse is banished. And “the sleep of reason,” as Goya said, “brings forth monsters.”

Chris Hedges, We All Are Islamic State,   http://www.Truthdig.com,  Mar 27, 2016

Yes, Christians believe we are in a ‘holy war’.  And no, this belief does not sanctify murder. The Bible tells us;

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

We Christians do believe we are in a pitched battle against spiritual evil in the world.  But our battle is NOT against flesh and blood enemies.  In dealing with ‘flesh and blood’ people who may not think or act as we do, Jesus was very clear about the ‘rules of engagement’;

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; (Matthew 5:43-45)

What weapons do Christians fight with?  Guns? Knives? Swords? Bombs? Fighter jets?  The Bible tells us;

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

The greatest battles we fight are in our own minds, pulling down the very strongholds half-truths establish in us.  Revenge is only an option when we have become completely obedient to the commands of Jesus Christ.

And here is our permitted ‘revenge’:

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:19-21)

What is irrational about this discourse?  What monster is brought forth from the pages of the Holy Bible. Radicalized Christianity is to follow Jesus into the very place that Chris Hedges says is reviled by Christians who embrace the concept of ‘holy war’.

“‘It is better to suffer certain injustices than to commit them,’ Albert Camus, like Immanuel Kant, understood. But the politicians, pundits and mass culture dismiss such wisdom as weakness.”

Chris Hedges, you know better, why do you only tell the half truth about the radicalized Christian’s holy war?

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