Rediscovering Redemption

Chronicling the work of Redemption in the lives of Followers and Leaders. Articles, research and meditations from the writings of Dr. Joseph J. Bucci. Get blog updates by following Joe on Twitter @Re_Redemption

Joseph J. Bucci

What Does It Mean to Give Someone a “Second Chance?”

On August 13, 2009, part-way into their opening pre-season game, fans of the Philadelphia Eagles began buzzing about something more that the game on the field matching their Eagles against the New England Patriots with their exceptional quarterback Tom Brady. Brady was just returning after a knee injury had knocked he and the Patriots out of contention for defending their previous year’s trip to the Super Bowl. The buzz was expected to focus on Brady and his preparation for returning to lead the Patriots to football’s promised land once again. But early in the game a different buzz swept across the stadium. It seemed that these Philadelphia Eagles, so often known for conservative decision-making, for sticking with a plan whether it was working currently or not, for going after “character” type of players after an earlier run-in with an ego-centric wide receiver named Terrell Owens – these same Eagles were being reported to have signed Michael Vick, former top draft pick and former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons, now a disgraced former player just released from prison for bankrolling vicious dog-fighting on his own property in Virginia, and who himself had tortured and killed several animals.

The Eagles and Vick – people were stunned. Even sportswriters familiar with the considerable skills of Vick and knowing the Eagles organization were “astounded.[1]

Reports were that this “second chance” opportunity was personal to coach Andy Reid. A month earlier, when Vick was released from prison after serving time for crimes related to the funding of a dog-fighting operation on his property in Virginia, Reid initial reaction (along with Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb) was that Vick was deserving of a second chance. Now the opportunity to gain Vick as an asset seemed to be mixed in Reid’s mind with an opportunity to do for Vick as he would want to do with his own sons, that of offering another opportunity to overcome their troubled past and start again[2].

Is there a conventional picture of a management practice using a redemptive approach in an organization?  This writer has found few management texts in circulation today that address a consistent approach, unless they are Christian authors offering a faith-based alternative to the management of employees.  A redemptive approach to dealing with aberrant behavior would need to understand the dichotomy where the need to develop and retain capable employees contrasts with the fact that people are imperfect and can have oddities and eccentricities which if unaddressed can cause rifts with other employees or be taken as poor attitudes (Furnham, 2002). Employees also may be clumsy or slow in mastering work-related tasks after repeated instruction, and managers have time deadlines and must have performance requirements met. There may also be angry or hurt individuals who need a strong hand to guide them through past bitterness and disappointment into finding satisfaction in their current situation.  A conventional approach would need to consider the fact that people make mistakes, and even offering ‘second chances’ does not necessarily cause people to be more loyal nor more accommodating – it might actually lead to employees taking greater behavior risks knowing their have a contingency (Bamberger & Donahue, 1999).  Do we as the “redeemed of the Lord” sense a greater obligation to offer redemptive opportunities to peers, subordinates and supervisors whose aberrant behavior creates a broken relationship with us, because of what Jesus did in offering a “second chance” for us? 

[1] Gonzalez, J. (2009, August 14). Astounded by Vick deal. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

[2] Hofmann, R. (2009, August 14). Giving second chances personal for Eagles coach Reid. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 14, 2009, from

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