I am a border-line baseball fan.  I like the game but I don’t spend a lot of hours watching the game.  However, every once in a while the game presents a measure of “drama” that speaks to huge life issues.  You have to pay attention.

Take the Toronto Blue Jays of late.  They haven’t won a world championship in  20 years but they have just established themselves as a different kind of champion.  In my mind they have to be considered “the champion of second chances”.

Blue Jays Gibbons Baseball

The Blue Jays announced that they had re-hired John Gibbons to be their field manager in the upcoming season.  He’d been there for 4 seasons earlier in the decade and really only had modest success.  His record was 305 wins matched by 305 losses.  But even more memorably, he is remembered for a number of public dust ups with key players.  Some were verbal, some were physical.  Even though he hasn’t been around for a few seasons no one has forgotten him.

Gibbons was interviewed yesterday and made comments about “doing things differently this time” and spoke of “winning”  as the best way to answer questions.

Then earlier this week the Blue Jays signed outfielder Melky Cabrera to a two year deal.  No big deal except Melky at mid season this past year was discovered to be using performance enhancing drugs and suspended 50  games by Major League Baseball.  His club at that time, the San Francisco Giants, didn’t renew his contract when he was eligible for a return to baseball in the fall.  In fact, he missed the World Series victory as a consequence.  They didn’t renew his contract for next year either–but the Blue Jays did.

And my point is????  The Blue Jays seem to be into giving guys second chances, that other teams aren’t.  Hmmm.

I can’t really comment on the baseball wisdom because I am not a baseball expert.  But the Blue Jays have crossed a line into an area of which I have a little more expertise.  They have left the baseball field and are now dead center in the theological field.  Instead of practising bunts and pick off moves, they are practicing “forgiveness and restoration” moves.  Very theological.

I think I understand their thinking.  They are “forgiving” because they see it as a necessary step in order to acquire good talent for the cause.  If you don’t forgive them, you can’t have them.  Smart.  Strategic.  Forward thinking.

Here’s a thought.  Was Jesus’ forgiveness/restoration of Peter after Peter had denied him 3 times a the arrest/crucifixion, a “pure” move or a “strategic” move?  Peter needed forgiveness and given his value to the cause, he certainly needed it publicly before he could be put into play for the cause?

I think I can do forgiveness.  It’s not easy, but I have had to make the move enough times over the years to get some ability in the area.  But the “restoration” move is a second step that I find harder to work on.

How do you handle people who have let you down, beat you up, taken you for a ride–and then come to you looking for a second chance?