Second Chances

April 11, 2012
by Margaret Zondo

Psalm 25:7 – Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. (NIV 2011)

As a child, I got myself into all kinds of mischief, and each time my parents disciplined me, they also gave me a second chance to learn from my mistakes. I do not think that they kept a record of how many times I apologized and promised to change my ways. I learnt then the wisdom of forgiveness and unconditional love.

Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (NIV 2011)

I had an aloe plant in my office whose leaves began to turn brown for no apparent reason. Frustrated, I decided to dump it onto the compost heap, but before I did this, I approached a colleague who persuaded me to give the plant a second chance. I followed her advice by moving it away from direct sunlight and desisting from over-watering this type of plant. In no time, I noticed new life in that same plant.

In our justice system, there is the option of sentencing an offender to a period of community service as a way of granting them a second chance. The main objective of this gesture is for the offender to provide some restitution for the actions which harmed the community. A stint at some community service seeks to restore the relationship with the offended party or the community as a whole.

I know of persons who have survived a stroke or heart attack, and because of this life-changing experience, they often liken it to having been given a second chance at life.

Psalm 130:3 – If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? (NIV 2011)

As true followers of Jesus, we know that our God is synonymous with second chances, forgiveness, and grace. When Jesus died on the cross and declared "It is finished", His words were a form of victory or triumph over sin — our sin. Jesus mercifully paid our penalty for sin and gives us the opportunity to start all over again. His was the ultimate sacrifice. By accepting His grace, we are made new, and our relationship with God is restored.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)

Prayer: Great Redeemer and Saviour, Your sacrifice on the cross has provided us with a second chance to know You and to commit to an everlasting relationship with You. We ask that You would send Your Holy Spirit into our broken world and make us truly thankful for Your amazing love and great mercy. Amen.

About the author:

Margaret Zondo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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