I am sitting in bed watching my first spring training game of the new season.  Baltimore is beating Boston at the moment – and we’ll take it whenever we can get it!  As for baseball, I welcome the return of my childhood pastime.  The other day I was reading an article about the St. Louis Cardinals and their new hitting coach, Mark McGwire.  This caught my eye because I have been a fan of McGwire since before the famed homerun race between he and Sammy Sosa.  As I read the article, it got me thinking about a common thread in the last year, a common thread in my life.

Mark McGwire has something in common with another high profile athlete – Michael Vick.  Though you might see their actions as totally different, they both have done something to break the law or rules in professional sports, as well as break the law.  Both men have gone before the public confessing and asking for forgiveness for their transgressions.  And now, both men are starting a new chapter in their lives.  Michael by re-entering the NFL and Mark by moving back into the MLB as a coach.

I have a deep personal interest in both of them (especially Michael) because I too have had to start over after making some bad choices which have hurt my family and friends, as well as ended my career.  These stories bring up an interesting concept that everyone wants to get, but few know how to give.  Ironically, watching both of their situations, I see segments of our society being very unforgiving and unwilling to give these two men the chance, the space to come back and to prove themselves as changed men, growing and giving back to their world.

There is one other person that comes to mind – he lived thousands of years ago, was a popular political figure and favored by God.  The King David of the Bible started as a lowly shepherd in his father’s livestock business.  He grew to become a fearless warrior and leader for the people of Israel.  He developed into a great king who would care for the people and govern in a righteous manner.  But then he was tempted when he least expected it.  David’s story is a fascinating one of sucess, sin, tragedy and redemption.  At the end of it, David was still known as a “man after God’s own heart”.  This came after his years as an adulterer, a murderer and a liar.

I am cheering for both Michael and Mark to suceed in life and prove to be good men, changed and better after their issues.  And I hope that people in our soceity find that spirit that gives forgiveness, help and hope for fallen people to be redeemed and restored…

… maybe there is hope for me too!  One can always hope…, I do.

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