River of Life: Forgiveness plays leading role in Chuck Norris story

Martial Arts adherents would know the name Chuck Norris. A six-time world karate champion, he holds the distinction of being the first man in the Western hemisphere to receive an eighth degree black belt grand master in Tae Kwon Do.

He also starred in more than 23 films and wrote and produced his popular television series, Walker, Texas Ranger. Norris has earned millions and been a friend to many Presidents of the USA.

Much of Chuck’s success he attributes to his mother. Carlos Ray Norris, “Chuck” was born into a poor family, led by an alcoholic father.

By age 15, the family had moved 16 times. Norris' mother, a strong Christian and prayer warrior, never gave up or let her children give up despite living in extreme poverty.

"God has a plan for you," she told her son daily, convincing him he could, indeed, beat the odds. Norris’ mum insisted the family go to church wherever they lived and Norris began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ at an early age. As a young adult, he rededicated his life to Christ when he attended a Billy Graham crusade.

However, fame and fortune took its toll on Chuck’s life and he and Dianne, his wife of 30 years, divorced. Ten years later, life took a life-changing twist. A letter from a daughter he'd never known turned up in his mailbox.

In his first marriage, Norris had committed a one-time extramarital affair while stationed away from home. He'd never known the experience had made him a father.

It would be hard for many people of Norris' stature to relay struggles in an autobiography, Against All Odds: My Story but Norris and his second wife Gena, see the theme of forgiveness as a big part of their story.

His daughter Deanna and her husband are now a part of the family, and there's been emotional healing with all family members.

Norris and Gena have been married 19 years and Gena gave birth to twins in 2001.

"These are human frailties; we all have them, we all sin," Norris said. "But as far I'm concerned, the sin that resulted in my daughter turned out to be a blessing. I can't imagine my life without her and her children, my three grandchildren."

Norris’ life story reminds us that we are all sinners, but when we seek forgiveness and put our trust in Jesus Christ, He forgives us completely and blesses our future.

- Pam Sammut, Pastor Tenterfield Community Church