When I was in kindergarten, a friend and I were building a tower out of wooden blocks during our playtime at school. When the tower became wobbly, the blocks came tumbling down, striking my friend and creating a deep gash on his forehead. He cried uncontrollably and had to be taken to get stitches. The teacher immediately accused me of throwing the block at him, which I vehemently denied. She confirmed her accusation through a showing of hands from the room full of kindergartners who were seemingly coerced by her rage towards me. My mother was called, and I was sent home. I was devastated! No one believed me! How would I get my reputation back? Fortunately, my friend later cleared my name, but the damage was done.
I recently recalled that incident when watching a true-life crime story on Netflix about Steven Avery. Avery spent 17 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. When DNA technology was finally able to prove his innocence, he was released from prison and given a chance to start over with his life. After suing Manitowoc County, Wisconsin and their Sheriff’s Department for wrongful imprisonment, things took a tragic turn for the worst. In case you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the outcome of the story. “Making a Murderer” documents the gripping story of Avery’s nightmarish plight. The ten-episode docuseries has created a media sensation, to say the least.
Avery’s story is not as uncommon as we may think. Regardless of an individual’s guilt or innocence, a person accused of a crime and imprisoned faces difficult circumstances when returning to society. How do we respond as Christians? In the Lifetree Small Group episode, “Second Chances,” Weldon Long explains how he was able to launch a successful business and career after a life of crime and imprisonment. Hear about his amazing journey and join us for a conversation about the power of second chances and redemption. Lifetree Small Group meets this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in room 130. Connect with the church, connect with friends, connect with Christ. All are welcome! Childcare is available upon request.