On the editorial page of Friday’s USA Today, a U.S. Army chaplain, Major James Key, wrote a surprisingly insightful article about Ted Williams, the homeless man who gained celebrity by way of his viral video interview on YouTube. Since then it has been learned that Ted Williams not only served time in jail for theft, but moreover, ruined his marriage and career through drug & alcohol abuse. But as Major Key points out, people are rooting for Ted because they believe everyone deserves a ‘second chance.’
Key uses this incident to talk about the God of ‘second chances,' citing the account of John Mark, whom you may recall was the young man who accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, but for reasons unknown dropped out and returned home. Sometime later, Barnabas wanted to give John Mark a second chance. But Paul did not. They disagreed so vehemently, they parted ways. But years later, we read in 2 Timothy how John Mark had became a useful & loyal companion to Paul when he was imprisoned in Rome. Obviously, Paul had given him a second chance.
John Mark or Jonah, Moses or Miriam, Peter or Paul, Ted Williams or Ted Bundy—it is an indisputable fact that human beings have an infinite capacity to mess things up. What a relief that we worship the God of second chances (and third, fourth, fifth…) “The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction; Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day” (Lam. 3:22-23).