Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Second Chance Wednesdays - Part 2

Here we are at another Wednesday. Time to turn to the People of the Second Chance's poster series, Never Beyond. I will admit that it has been a trying week and I have not been looking forward to writing this post. It has nothing to do with this week's supposed villain. It has to do with how much of a villain I have been this week. I have had little patience for people these last seven days. I have not felt like giving a second chance to anyone. The redeeming feature here is that I have (mostly) been able to keep my mouth shut and not spout out all of the unkind thoughts running through my head. I think what is happening is a combination of me feeling more ungracious than usual and also being more aware of it now that I have jumped  right into working with People of the Second Chance. God evidently intends to make sure that this is not just an academic exercise for me!

So let's jump in! The subject of this week's POTSC poster is Mike Tyson.

It has been quite awhile since I thought about him. Never one to follow boxing, and only somewhat interested in pop culture, he has been off my radar. I actually sort of wondered why he even made it into the Never Beyond series, and then I read the brief summary POTSC had posted of his life. He has not been an angel, that is for sure. He was just never one of my personal villains.

God must have liked the idea of using Mike Tyson for this week's subject because He was moving in Mike's life at the same time. A few nights ago, when the poster first came out, somebody checked Tyson's Twitter feed and found that he had written about people deserving second chances. I replied to him and said he could have several second chances from me. What? That was quick. Did I even stop to think about who I was giving second chances to?

Let me think about this for a minute. I know that Mike Tyson has not always been a sportsman-like competitor, but not being the competitive sort myself, I find it hard to identify here. Sure, he bit off part of Holyfield's ear, but men usually have big ears anyway. Didn't Holyfield have some he could spare for Mike? ;)

So let's move on to a different part of Tyson's resume. Convicted rapist. Accused domestic abuser. That should hit home for most women. Rape? I've never been raped, but I have experienced many things as an adult that fall into the range of sexual abuse. I was also molested as a child. Domestic abuse? I have been hit with a fist once. I've also been thrown up against a wall. I am so sensitive about these things that I can never watch them re-enacted in a movie or on TV. (This brings on fights at home. "It's just a movie!" "Too bad, bucko, nobody needs to dump more of that into their mind.") Do I want to give a man, who has done things like what has been done to me, a second chance? 

I used to volunteer as part of our local Sexual Assault Response Team. My role was to meet a rape victim at the hospital (usually in the middle of the night), give her reassurance, give her clothes (hers were collected as evidence), give her a teddy bear, and let her know what type of services were available to her. We did not want her to ever feel alone in the process. My very first time being called out, I had to tell a father of six daughters that his oldest had been raped. Just by chance, I was between that father and the door. If I had not quickly explained that the suspect was already in custody, he probably would have plowed straight through me and gone on a hunt. It is safe to say that none of us in that room that night was thinking about second chances for the rapist. Why now?

I think the deciding factor for me at this point is that Mike Tyson asked for a second chance. He knows he has been wrong many times. He is not trying to blow it off or hide it. He is sorry. He has asked for forgiveness and he wants to try again. 

Just in the short time since POTSC unveiled the Never Beyond campaign, I have come to see that it is so much easier to extend grace to those who sincerely ask for forgiveness. And it is easier to give a second chance to someone that you don't know - someone you don't have to be vulnerable with. The real challenge comes with those people who have not asked for forgiveness - the ones who don't even think they need a second chance. It is so much more challenging when the person we need to see as never beyond grace is standing there holding a fragile piece of your heart. They probably won't ever show up in a poster series, but I've got a long list of these challenging people. God is really working me on this. So...


  1. WOW! I didn't know a Mike Tyson article could be read with such intrigue and emotion.

    The ones that hold pieces of our heart is a tough one! I've got one in the family right now, kind of, and I'm trying to extend a little grace to them. No one seems to understand or agree. A hard thing for a girl who seems to need so much validation, affirmation, approval, etc. I mean, if no one understands or agrees, than I must be wrong.


  2. Bek, I rushed right over here to give you some validation. But then if I say "right" I am actually validating those who are invalidating you, yes? ;)

    I don't just have a tough one in the family right now. I have a whole family of tough ones. And I am struggling at giving second chances. This whole POTSC thing came at a very interesting juncture in my life. Yours too, I'm sure.

    Glad we are doing this part of life together. xoxoxoxo

  3. Carolyn, your post hits home with me on so many levels.

    First, the bit about being more aware of the need for grace in the world as a result of becoming part of POTSC...oh my goodness, that is so true! It was much easier to grump and grumble my way through my day when I just wasn't feeling it, not caring who I ran over on the way before POTSC. Now, I just can't do it without great big heaping helpings of guilt. That's a good thing, right? :)

    And secondly...

    <<"It is so much more challenging when the person we need to see as never beyond grace is standing there holding a fragile piece of your heart.">>

    That is my personal struggle right now, as I attempt to answer POTSC's question, "Who would you give a second chance?" for myself. I have family members who hurt me, and others whom I love, absolutely grievously. They don't think that they did anything wrong at all, and will NEVER apologize or try to make amends with me. The best I can hope for is for a simple "return to the way things used to be" as if the hurtful things never happened at all. Ugh. God definitely wasn't playing when He brought me to POTSC!

    Great post, Carolyn...very thought-provoking! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

  4. Angela, I never did thank you for this comment. I understand completely about the family members who never think anything is wrong. I'm sorry for both of us that we know what that feels like. I'm glad that God redeems us from those things as well. I'm hoping we will all be vastly different people at the end of this 25-week project.


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Moral support, prayers, and witty comments always appreciated.