Friday, July 03, 2009

How Many Chances?


You might remember the story of hockey player Dany Heatley who broke into the league with the Atlanta Thrashers. One night he was driving at high speed and careened off the road. His passenger, another player, was killed in the accident. Heatley was injured and convicted of reckless driving. It was remarkable that the family of the other player forgave him out of their Christian convictions. Their forgiveness was a powerful reminder that our faith in Christ gives us a second chance, and we can extend it to others.

Heatley is at the centre of another, lesser, controversy at the moment. He has petulantly and publicly demanded a trade by his current team, the Ottawa Senators. Atlanta granted his wish to go elsewhere and start over. Heatley doesn't like the new Senator coach and wants out. The team made a trade, but he refused to go, a condition of his contract.

So, how many chances do we get? Jesus said forgive seventy times seven, but isn't this guy a big self-absorbed baby? It's a reminder that when we choose to forgive there are no guarantees of happy endings. It may mean that the recipient of grace will undergo a character change, but it ain't written in the contract. Who do you think forgiveness benefits most, the receiver or the bestower?

3 comments:

Ian said...

This story is a major thorn in the side of hockey fans, for precisely the reasons outlined by David.

After leaving Atlanta, one got the impression from sports media coverage that Heatley had made peace with his past, and had grown from such a painful experience. Now, I think many of us are re-thinking that assumption.

Is this a case of someone trying to craft the arc of their career, or is it something more selfish? In any case, I suspect the people of Atlanta and Thrashers fans aren't too impressed with the young man they eventually came to forgive and forget.

Laura said...

I am a beleiver that forgiveness benefits the forgiver more than the forgiven. That being said it sounds selfish to be a forgiver.I wonder when one really does something so harmful to others, such as Heatley has done, would the forgiveness of family/public etc really ease an aching conscience? Or does that come from forgiving oneself? Just pondering where our true sense of well being/peace comes actually comes from...within ourselves or from others? I suppose more likely for most, from a combination of personal and public response. Although perhaps "self-absorbed babies"(well-described) haven't evolved far enough to really know what true forgiveness means to either the receiver or bestower?

lionlamb said...

Thanks for these musings. There are enough toxic people out there that it is important to avoid infection, not by isolation (impossible) but by the power of forgiveness.