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!