Freshman Year: God Is the God of Second Chances

John FarrellBy John Farrell6 Minutes

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We’re not perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. And yet we can always find forgiveness in the arms of our loving God. That’s because He believes in second chances.

Regardless of our sins, we will be forgiven if we confess them to God.

That’s the great thing about God’s redemptive power. His only son died on the cross, and in doing so, Jesus bore our sins, allowing us to live in righteousness if we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Savior.

It doesn’t matter how big or small the infraction, through our Christian faith we are given second chances. Whether we’ve committed murder, adultery, lied, or even had premarital sex, if we come to Jesus Christ with an honest heart of repentance, we will be forgiven.

And this message of forgiveness and second chances is the heart of the 2019 film Freshman Year.

Two Freshmen from Different Backgrounds

Straight-laced CJ (Diallo Thompson) had always had a deep and personal relationship with the Lord. He was raised in a Christian household where he was sheltered from many real-world issues. CJ attended a small, private Christian school and played basketball. His father Chukwumah (Benjamin Onyango) served as the pastor of the local church, while his mother Veronica (Desalene Jones) was an attorney.

After graduating as the valedictorian from high school, CJ enrolled in a secular college, much to the dismay of his father. On the way home from the graduation ceremony, he reminds his father about why he chose a secular school over a private Christian one: “Well, Dad, remember my speech when I said I wanted to spread my light and make a difference? I just feel like the best place to do that is at a public university.”

Shortly after arriving on campus, CJ, who dresses more like a professor than a college student, meets fellow freshman Marcella (Natalia Dominguez, who won Best Actress in the Christian Media Association Film Contest for this role). Marcella was raised by a strict single mother. Her dad walked out on her mom when she was pregnant with Marcella. Marcella’s over-protective and confrontational brother Hector (Ed Gonzalez Moreno) stepped up as the man of the house in their father’s absence.

Over the first couple of weeks of the semester, Marcella makes the cheerleading squad while CJ tries out for and makes the basketball team. The two of them grow closer.

Seeking Forgiveness and Moving Forward

CJ and Marcella’s relationship takes an unexpected turn when they receive some sobering news – information that could destroy their still budding friendship. Realizing their mistake, they must decide how they want to go forward.

The news isn’t well-received by either family, but they accept what has happened, knowing there’s nothing they can do now to change it. During a tense discussion with Marcella’s mom (Natasha Dee Davis) and brother about the uncertainty of their plans, CJ quotes Jeremiah 29:11: “The Lord has a plan for us. A plan to prosper you and not to harm you. A plan to give you hope and a future.”

CJ’s dad, being a man of the cloth, is appalled at his son’s sin but he turns to the Word so he “can stay in the spirit.” Veronica is more accepting and forgiving. Although Chukwumah does not approve of CJ and Marcella’s actions, he believes in second chances and offers to help them out.

Because God is a forgiving God, and delights in giving Christians multiple second chances, Chukwumah embraces the concept of second chances and extends the blessing to his son and Marcella, even incorporating the lesson into a sermon:

“How many of you know that we serve a God of second chances? So, when life hands you a raw deal, rise up. When you suddenly fall ill, and you don’t know which way to turn. Everything seems dark. Rise up. When your children go into disobedience, and they follow a path that’s separate from the church. Rise up. When we are crippled by a disease that’s life-threatening, rise up, rise up, rise up. For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again.”

Regardless of our past, we can look confidently toward our future knowing that God loves us unconditionally and will forgive us many times over for He is the God of second chances.

To learn more about Freshman Year and its upcoming airtimes on Inspiration TV click here