I watched a documentary the other day about about a boxing incident that took place in Madison Square Garden 27 years ago. It is was an ugly incident where a fighter’s corner man had taken an ounce out of the fighter’s glove who was too lose the fight so that he would would win. The fight was between Irish Billy Collins and Luis Resto and apparently their was a lot of money on Resto so they were trying to insure that he won. Resto beat Collins badly that night and because of the beating Collins took he had his iris torn in his eye and therefore could never fight again. He became depressed and died only two years after the fight when he drove his car into culvert and many think it was suicide.
After the fight it was found out that gloves were tampered with and Resto ended up doing prison time and so did his trainer. Resto always maintained he did nothing wrong until this documentary where he came clean. He admitted that his trainer took his gloves in the bathroom. He admitted he knew he did something with them. He admitted that his trainer gave him some sort of drug in his water to give him a boost. He admitted that he had plaster paris on his hands inside the gloves.
The documentary takes a strange turn according the film maker because he did not expect all this and so now he follows Resto around as he confronts some and apologizes to others. You see him confront his former trainer which does not go so well as he admits nothing and makes excuses. You also see Resto tell his family – his mother, sister, sons – that he knew what was being done and did nothing about it. He then goes and apologizes to Collins widow. It was an amazing thing to see. She hugs him and says I have already forgiven you and now you need to forgive yourself.
This film shows an amazing journey for this former fighter. I was reminded about how huge of a gift that forgiveness is. I was reminded of how we are forgiven. Resto lived with weight of all of this for 25 years – knowing he did wrong and did not step up, feeling guilty for the death of Collins, and hiding the truth from his family. You could see the difference on his face and the way he walked afterward. You see a man who becomes free.
God gives us an even better kind of freedom through Jesus. God has forgiven us because of the blood of Christ. God wants us to admit we are wrong and come to Him. It all comes through Jesus Christ. We are free men and women because of the riches of his grace.
Eph. 1:7 -In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.
Are you walking around a free man or woman today? How does it feel to be free?