Jon Stolpe Stretched

What's S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g me now?

Me and Grace: Is There Any Chance They Go Together?

Who would you give a second chance?

Yesterday, I posted about Joe Paterno, and I wrestled out loud about whether or not he deserves a second chance and about whether or not he deserves grace.  There was really an interesting discussion that happened through the comments of the blog.  As I thought more about the issue, the post, and the comments, I kept coming back to the same thing:  What about grace and me?  Do they go together?

I’m not in the national spotlight like Joe Paterno.  I haven’t been involved in something so devastating and dark.  But here’s the deal.  When it comes to God’s holiness, I fall way short of the mark.  I sin.  My thoughts aren’t always the best and neither are my actions.  I wrong others and God through my attitudes, my lack of response, and my general failures to get it right.  So if I’m honest, I have to ask if there’s grace for me?  Just like Joe Paterno, I need grace.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”  Romans 3:23

Do I deserve grace?  Does Joe Paterno deserve grace?  I think the answer is actually no.  Grace is not earned or deserved.  Grace is given.  It’s an undeserved gift.  So when I ask the question “does Joe Paterno or Jon Stolpe deserve grace?” what I’m really trying to say is “would you be willing to give me (or Joe) a second chance despite my failings?”

  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23

So what about you?  How does grace fit into your story?  Have you ever received grace from someone?  Have you had the chance to give someone a second chance?


November 17, 2011 - Posted by | looking back, stretch, thoughts, verses


  1. Jon, after a hurtful “divorce” the community Thanksgiving service is at my former church Sunday night. Si we are considering going just to get some community awkwardness out of the way so we can move forward.

    And no, none of us deserve grace.

    Comment by LarryTheDeuce | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. Jon: I have to rush to work, but without getting into a debate about theology, there is a huge difference between you and Joe Paterno. Really, there is no comparison.

    Joe Paterno made a livelihood, and a sweet livelihood it was, by projecting a false image of who he was to the media and the public. He projected the image of a great football coach who was a man of INTEGRITY, everyone’s hero, everyone’s dad, who lived by his CONVICTIONS and did the RIGHT THING. Now we learn that is no moral hero, he is a ordinary guy who, when the chips are down, does what he perceives to be in his best self-interest at the time.

    Jon Stolpe (who based on all my experience and interactions, I think is an exceptionally good man), whatever his sins, does not make his living by projecting a false image of himself to the media and the public. He works at a job like all of us.

    Is there grace for Joe Paterno? With God, certainly. With the public and the media, unlikely. The most Joe Paterno can hope for is to become a moral private man. In a sense, the most Joe Paterno can hope for is to become another Jon Stolpe.

    Our sin as the general public is our idol worship of celebrities like Joe Paterno. When society stops following God, people don’t believe in nothing, they believe in everything. As members of society, we turn from worship of one celebrity to another, only to see our idols smashed again and again by the media.

    The media makes them and the media breaks them.

    Only God cannot be broken by the media.

    Comment by Michael Shaw | November 17, 2011 | Reply

    • I think everyone projects a false image of themself to some degree. Yea, Joe Pa did it on a massive level but we all do it to an extent.

      We should show him grace in love just as God has shown it to us. This doesn’t mean we give him his job back or anything. It just means if we think about him or if we run it to him, we show love and grace.

      Comment by ramblinknight | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. Excellent post, action packed really! So true, and humbling, none of us deserve grace. But God, so rich in mercy, ahhhh! I think though there may be two issues lurking here. No one deserves grace but amazingly it flows out to me, Joe and even Judas at his last moments could have received grace. However, there is also the principle of righteousness and reaping. Certainly God extends grace and anyone can embrace it. But he also rewards and honors righteousness. Those of us identified in Christ have a knew standing. So while you, Joe and I once had the exact same standing, sin and death, not so any longer. We’re all extended grace, but those of us who have received it are now marked with righteousness. A new law is set into motion, a different standard. Grace that leads to righteousness brings life, it’s rejection smells of death.

    Comment by Beck | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  4. I agree with You Jon…

    Sin is Sin…no matter what it is….the consequence obviously are not the same by far…but it’s still sin…stealing kids innoccence is the same as stealing a pencil from work…it comes from the same place of sin…BUT, BUT, the consequences are drastically different and apparent! You get a slap in the hand, and He gets the shame of public ridicule but, we cannot shake the fact…that Christ Died For Both of YOU and Me and Us!…

    I’m sorry but as much as we want to…we can’t pick and choose who Jesus decides to extend Grace To….

    like i said before…I’m not concered if I can give him a second chance…I mean…really?

    if we are honest…

    If joe paterno called us up and said…hey can I come and stay with you for a couple of weeks till all this blows over…..Would You Invite Him to your house with your family and not to mention you son?

    I don’t know if i could do that…..but the question is….

    What Does Giving Someone A Second Chance Look Like?

    Comment by Arny Sanchez | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  5. Yes, grace is a gift,from God, Jon. And yes, God does give all of us grace. And yes, I believe that when you are right with Jesus Christ, HE will give You and all who ask forgiveness GRACE. And, YES, I believe that God will and can give all of us a second chance. When we are right with God, HE is the ONLY ONE who can give us a second chance. And, yes, HE who believes and repents will be given that second chance. AMEN!

    Comment by Janet L. Lomicka | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  6. It’s easy to react in stories like this. I mean, when I read about the new developments in the JoePa/Penn St case, I’m like “wha???”. Makes me mad and unwilling to give grace. I want to remember that everyone is indeed broken and in need of second chances.

    Comment by Dustin | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  7. It’s a rough topic. But so glad we got grace. Wrote about it to try to figure it out myself.

    Comment by DK | November 17, 2011 | Reply

    • DK, Thanks so much for stopping by and for linking to your thoughts. It’s definitely a challenging subject to ponder. (I’m looking forward to your guest post!).

      Comment by jonstolpe | November 17, 2011 | Reply

  8. My entire story is about grace. Undeserved, unmerited, abundant grace.

    Comment by Leah Adams | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  9. So good man.

    Comment by Michael Perkins | November 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks, Michael.

      Comment by jonstolpe | November 21, 2011 | Reply

  10. […] 3.  Me and Grace: Is There Any Chance They Go Together? […]

    Pingback by November 2011 Top Posts « Jon Stolpe Stretched | December 1, 2011 | Reply

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