from my husband’s pen today …
GOD OF SECOND CHANCES
All of us have heard that God is a God of second chances. I think the concept brings comfort and hope to those of us who fall time and time again. We all need second chances. But the “second chance” idea puts all of us in a precarious position.
I often need a second chance before lunch time rolls around—you probably do too. So then if God is a God who gives second chances, we are all in trouble. God gives us many more chances that just two. In fact to God, every chance is a first chance. Let me explain.
One day Peter asked Jesus, “How many times should I forgive my brother if he sins against me? Seven times?” Now let’s give Peter credit for trying to be generous with his forgiveness. After all seven is the perfect number and surely after seven times the errant brother should suffer the consequences for his behavior. Jesus’ response, however, was so outrageous as to be mind boggling. He told Peter, “Not seven times but seventy times seven times”. Wow! Can I really forgive that many times? I would probably lose count. And that is the point. The idea is not to forgive 490 times, but rather to keep on forgiving as long as it takes.
Then in the great love chapter we are taught that love does not keep a tally of wrongs. Again, we are not to count up how many wrong things someone has done to us. So when you wrong me and I forgive you, the slate is wiped clean. If (when) you wrong me again, I am not allowed to say, “Well that is the second time you have hurt me.” No, when I forgive, the counter is reset to zero.
And so it is with God, who is so much better at forgiving and loving than we are. He is not only the God of second chances. He is the God of multiple chances. He keeps on forgiving. He does not add up our wrongs. When he forgives the counter resets to zero. And that is good news for me and for you.