WILL Smith whose resounding crack echoed into all our living rooms, as it nearly broke Chris Rock’s jaw, finally repented. He said, he had betrayed the trust of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and that his conduct was shocking, painful and inexcusable! “I am heartbroken!” he cried.
The sudden announcement came days after the academy had condemned Mr Smith’s actions and opened an inquiry into the incident. Even as I along with many others said out aloud that his repentance and apology came only after all doors were closed, my thoughts went to another who repented when all doors were also closed and he realized death was inevitable. That man was the second thief on the cross. He knew he was going to die. He knew there was no escape and he decided to repent. In doing so, heaven’s gates opened for him, as Jesus told him, ‘today thou will be with me in paradise!’ How similar is this repentance and also forgiveness from Jesus to the forgiveness we owe Will? All of the Israel at the time of Jesus’ life, must have come to hear about Jesus’ preaching and healing.
‘Go and sin no more,’ must have been heard by thousands because the gospels say that all the books on earth would not be able to contain what Jesus did in His lifetime here, which means that millions heard and saw Him in action.
In all probability the thief must have seen Jesus, heard Jesus and even heard there was a better life for him if he gave up thieving. But he continued doing what he did, and didn’t bother to repent till every single avenue was closed and an eternity in hell awaited him. Just like poor Will, right?
Which means that God forgives a repenting heart at whichever spot you and I are. It might be in prison, a minute short of the gallows or electric chair, or as in Will Smith’s case, when all the doors are shut. So, what is it that God extends to such as we who run to Him, when He’s the only door open? Grace!
Jesus on the cross did not question the thief and his repentance. Did not ask him why he hadn’t done so earlier. Didn’t tell him that his matter was pending. Today you will be with me in paradise!’ said a dying Lord to a last-minute repentant thief.
And it is this same grace we need to extend to Mr Smith. Even as God extends the same to us. “Bob, you ask me now for forgiveness? What happened when you were younger?” He asks. No, God doesn’t say that to me, He accepts my unconditional apology, unconditionally..!