At Christmas, of course, we’re celebrating the birth of a baby 2,000 years ago. A little boy named Jesus came into the world to save us from sin and evil and to teach us about the ultimate forgiveness.
Thirteen years ago, a little baby boy named Chancellor Lee Adams came into the world. He could not save his father from sin and evil, but he and his grandmother today are an extraordinary story of forgiveness that should inspire and challenge us all.
The baby, whom his grandma calls Lee, was born by emergency C-section after his mother, Cherica Adams, was gunned down in her car. The killers had been hired by the baby’s father, former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth. The story made headlines at the time, and Carruth, the driver, and the shooter were sent to prison. But then, as with most news events, the story faded from public consciousness.
This past fall, both Sports Illustrated and HBO’s “Real Sports” produced updates on Lee and his grandmother, Saundra Adams, who has cared for her beloved grandson since his birth and the death of her daughter, her only child.
The stories will leave you in tears, for the cruelty and callousness of Carruth; for the perseverance of Cherica, who fought so hard to live and to tell the story of the crime; for the limitations Lee will face throughout his life.
But you also will cry with hope, joy, and awe. Saundra Adams has forgiven Carruth. She says God has softened her heart and that she “had no other choice” than to give up the burden of her anger. She delights in her grandson, who keeps alive Cherica in his eyes and who Saundra says is already living his calling of bringing joy and light to people who know him.
It is impossible not to listen to Saundra Adams and be humbled. Could I forgive as she has? I don’t think so.
And so we are reminded of Jesus, a baby born as a sign and a savior. He would absolve us of our sins and serve as a constant reminder to us of our Father’s love and devotion.
We cannot yet know all to which Chancellor Lee Adams is called. But in 13 short years, he and his grandmother have provided a beautiful, powerful witness of Jesus’s healing power.
For more on this story: This link provides an 8-minute video report from 2009. Please be advised there is some harsh language in the video and in the YouTube comments.