Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 18, 2013

Second Chances

As I read the verdict in the storied rape case in Steubenville, Ohio and watched the reports on major news channels, I felt such a deep sadness for all involved. Here were two young men, a 16- and 17-year-old and a young girl, also 16, whose lives – and mistakes – have been plastered across television and computer screens around the world. Their lives, along with the lives of their families and friends, have been forever changed as they deal with the consequences of decisions they made.

But while we shake our heads in disbelief over all the lurid details, are we much different? Don’t we allow Satan’s lies to fool us, too? Do we listen when he tempts us to follow our own desires rather than listen to the words of God? Do we choose to believe what the world tells us about fame, success, and who or what we are rather than believe that God created each life, giving it dignity and worth? While what these kids – yes, kids! – did was totally despicable, does it not reflect what can happen when we listen and fall victim to the world’s lies rather than seeking the wisdom of God?

The apostle Peter wrote: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But while Satan wants to destroy us, John reminds us that Jesus seeks us to save us. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). And that is why He offers second chances – and not just second, but third, fourth, and many more. Jesus is always ready to receive a truly penitent heart that seeks forgiveness and mercy.

David, shepherd-boy who became King of Israel, knew what it was like to need a second chance. The Bible details a period in David’s life when he fell into sin. He stayed home from battle, fathered a son by a woman who was not his wife, deceived her husband and devised a plan to have him killed in battle, and then took the woman as his wife. While David may have been able to conceal his sin before most of the people, God knew what David had done. And David knew. Psalm 38 records David’s deep expression of pain. Consider just a few statements that David makes.

“For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden they are too heavy for me. My wounds are foul and festering because of my foolishness. I am troubled, I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. For my loins are full of inflammation. And there is no soundness in my flesh. I am feeble and severely broken; I groan because of the turmoil of my heart.”

(Psalm 38: 4-8)

David knew the pain of sin. He felt the burden of wrongs that he had done that could not be taken back. Oh, how David needed a second chance. And he found that chance when he went straight to God and repented of all that he had done. We can read this prayer in Psalm 51 as David sought the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. And in the process David found a second chance.

Do you need a second chance? Regardless of the severity of our sin or disobedience, we are never beyond the mercy and forgiveness of God. In Psalm 86:5 David exclaims: “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” At the same time, God’s forgiveness does not mean that we may not still have to deal with the consequences of the wrongs we have done. Yet even in our trouble or suffering, we can know the healing grace of a God who truly loves us, a God who wants to lift us from our spiral downward toward destruction, and to set our feet in the right direction following Him.

I know I’ve had my share of second chances. I’ve felt the weight of unconfessed sin and experienced the peace that comes with forgiveness. And I’ve discovered something more. When God gives us a second chance, He not only forgives us but He also restores us. While He must deal with our sin, He doesn’t leave us broken and beat down. Instead He lifts us up, gives us purpose and direction, and continues His transforming work in our lives as He tries to make us more like His Son… and more like the person He created us to be.

That’s what I pray for all who were involved and affected by the rape case in Steubenville, and for all of us who need another chance. I pray for God’s forgiveness, His healing, and His restoration. I pray that each of us will truly turn to God, lay bare our hearts before Him, and seek His wisdom. May each of us allow His words to drown out all the competing voices that seek only to deceive and destroy. And may we all rejoice together over our God who loves us, who forgives us, who restores us…… who gives us second chances.

 

 

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