Monday, August 22, 2011

The risk of vulnerability - A challenge from Mike Tyson

Casey Anthony.  Justice.  Grace.  Forgiveness.  Or, lack thereof.  Do you know someone beyond grace?

These word have been written many times during the launch week of People of the Second Chance's new "Never Beyond" poster series.
This week our image is Mike Tyson.

As I join alongside POTSC and their poster project, one of the challenges will be familiarizing myself with the people being analyzed and the stories being told.  My family never watched much of the news, and I didn't mind being away from the horror and the destruction that seemed to dominate that scene anyway.  Just so you know, I am no expert on these people and their shocking stories.

As I read this summary of Mike Tyson's most memorable actions, though, I wasn't struck by the awful things he's done.  (Haven't I done plenty of sinful things myself?)  I am no stranger to judgment toward others, but judgment and I are not super close friends.  What caught me off guard was this:

He’s been candid about his addictions and financial mistakes...

Mike Tyson has opened himself to grace.  And also to the possibility of receiving no grace.

Just because you make yourself vulnerable does not mean that vulnerability will be respected and protected, and all of us have personal stories to prove it.  So why would this man who has already garnered a fair share of judgment and hatred open himself up to potentially more scrutiny and condemnation?

Could it be the mark of a sincere step in a better direction?  I think so.

Tonight I was challenged by the actions of a convicted rapist to open myself to grace.  I have been forgiven.  Jesus has taken my shame, and I need not bear it any more.  He already has the victory, and He has blessed me with experiences that testify to that truth already!  The best way for me to make Him and His grace famous is to tell the stories of what He's done, no?  But how can I tell of His mercy and grace if I don't tell what I've been rescued from?

I am afraid.  I am afraid that telling my story will open myself to more shame.  But, I want the glory of Jesus to win out in my life.  I want it to show.
I am going to tell my story one day.  I need not fear the condemnation of others, because they are not the ones who condemn.

If the One who condemns has already set you free, you are free indeed.
May we live like it!

Parting thoughts:
What would it look like if we were candid with our addictions, our struggles, our sins?
As Dr. Andrew Randle has said, "We all struggle.  Let's struggle together."
How should you and I treat those who boldly claim their forgiveness in Christ and open themselves up to the chance for grace?


Want to read more and join the discussion? Check out People of the Second Chance.


  1. I can so relate to what you posted -- the fear of truly opening up the darkness of my past. But God really will use it if you do. I have started and the grace has been overwhelming. You see, I am a former lawyer, law professor, and Bible study teacher. Now I am a convicted felon and divorced. I was afraid that if I started to open up, I would no longer have a voice -- people would not listen to me, especially Christians. Yet, I was convicted that I needed to start sharing my story, and the response has been tremendous -- thankfully.

  2. Hi, I came over through POTSC site. I wanted to give you some encouragement to share your story. Although with your last words in your post, looks like you've already gotten some encouragment. And that from the One Who matters.

  3. Great thoughts! I loved when you said this, "The best way for me to make Him and His grace famous is to tell the stories of what He's done, no? But how can I tell of His mercy and grace if I don't tell what I've been rescued from?" This has been my journey as well. I risk being vulnerable because Christ is WORTH IT! Thanks for coming by my blog today. Nice to meet you!

  4. This is an amazing post about Tyson! It's really made me think about where I am in my own life and what right I have to judge others.



  5. Good stuff. We should all open up our stories - our dark past - so that God can use them. Tyson had no real choice in some ways - his story was played out before everyone's eyes. But God is using it too. Thanks for the post!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! If there is something you want me to respond to specifically, feel free to send me an email; I'd love to chat.