A Second Chance

Neal Pollard

Have you ever wanted an opportunity for redemption?  Did you ever feel you deserved it?  Brian Banks was a highly recruited football player, heading to USC, when Wanetta Gibson accused Banks of raping her.  Her accusation was a lie, but his lawyer feared his “age, size, and race” would keep him from getting a fair trial.  Also, Gibson convinced him to plead no contest “to a crime he insisted he didn’t commit.” Thus, no trial and no evidence presented.  He received the maximum sentence allowed under the plea deal, but avoided the possibility of 41 years in jail. He was released after five years, and he had to register as a sex offender.  Last year, Gibson sent Banks a friend request on Facebook.  He did not accept, but messaged her asking why should would do that? She said she wanted to reconnect.  Banks slyly asked a family friend who was a private investigator to help him establish his innocence. She would go on to confess on tape that Banks was innocent of both the rape and kidnapping charge.  While she is in huge legal trouble now, Banks was exonerated and the charges against him dropped (via transcript from “Blindsided,” a CBS news feature at http://www.cbsnews.com).

Banks deserved exoneration.  While it might have been that Banks was not totally innocent, he was not guilty of the charges against him.  He had to do time for a crime he did not commit.  It cost him time and the ability to prepare himself for a career that would pay handsomely.  Now, it seems, he will have that chance.  The Atlanta Falcons have invited him to try out for middle linebackers.  Most believe he will make the roster and could eventually start.  He got a second chance.

Our situation is really the opposite.  We were guilty of the charges against us (Rom. 3:23). There were no mitigating circumstances.  The facts in the case are ugly (cf. 1 Jn. 2:15-17; Js. 1:13-15).  We deserved the harshest penalty.  But, Jesus, a totally innocent Man, was put to death for our crimes.  Because He arose, we have the opportunity to be completely pardoned.  Not only that, we stand to gain a fortune too great to count that will endure for eternity (Mt. 25:46).  We have a second chance, not because we were found innocent.  We have a second chance because His blood makes us righteous!  Praise God for second chances.

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