A God of Second Chances

???????????????????????????????[Jesus said] “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3

Oh how quick we are to judge others!

I usually prefer to shy away from discussing items in the political realm within the pages of blogs and social media. Doing so never seems to end well for those of differing opinion, especially when the differences are among friends. Even in those instances when I do share some thought, it is usually in an attempt to focus on issue rather than personality. But since the election held in my former community on Tuesday, I am bending my general rule for a moment. It seems the election of former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford to his former congressional seat warrants comment. Well, not necessarily his election, but the reaction of some towards it.

In the course of the last forty eight hours, I have received several messages and read many other messages on Facebook and Twitter, enough to feel saddened and dismayed by the reaction of those posting. The truth of the matter is, we don’t have to agree on the politics of elections and their outcome, but as Christians, we ought to think about the teaching of Christ before we fly off the handle mocking and calling out a sinner based on his or her actions. We should especially be reminded of God’s grace when such sinner professes to believe in “a God of second chances.”

Truthfully, Christians do believe in a God of second chances. If we did not, we could not be the recipients of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Ever since Adam and Eve took a bite from the forbidden fruit, humanity has failed to live up to the expectations of God, bringing the curse of sin and death upon itself through human disobedience. Through original sin, humanity continues to wear the imperfect and perishable flesh of this world. Yet, God sent his Son Jesus to take away the sin of the world. Through Christ, the imperfect is made perfect, and one day, as we are raised to new life in God’s kingdom, the perishable flesh will be made imperishable. In elementary terms, God gave humanity a second chance at life; a life that will be fully realized at the day of resurrection.

Think about it. As you profess to be Christian and a follower of Christ Jesus, you profess to be a child of a loving Father who refuses to judge you by your sin. Rather, God judges you by the righteousness of Christ your Savior. God has given all of us a second chance. To those who failed at marriage, God forgives and gives a second chance at marriage. For those who have aborted children God forgives and gives a second chance at parenthood. In his grace, God provides second chances to addicts who struggle to overcome substance abuse, second chances to adulterers, and second chances to abusive husbands, wives and parents. God’s grace is sufficient in all of these, and even sufficient for one who cheated, lied and neglected duties and relationships in order to follow a wrong path. All of this begins with repentance, acknowledgement of sin and asking God to help us refrain from sinful behavior.

We cannot judge others by their actions, for our actions are just as despicable. We cannot call out another without first being called out by the law of God. Along the road to redemption, we cannot begin to know the pain suffered by one as he/she has wrestled with the wages of their sin. Hurling insults and false judgments at another only serves us in that it allows us to hide our own faults and misdeeds. Humans love to make themselves look better by making someone else look worse. As I said earlier, Oh how quick we are to judge others!

So what does all this mean? First of all, we who are quick to judge should stop it. We are no better than the one whom we are attempting to tear down. Second, as we refrain from false judgment (We are not worthy to judge, so our judgments are certainly false.) we should begin to build up, support and hold one another accountable to the gospel rather than accountable to our own ideals. And finally, as those being judged, we should acknowledge the second chance God has given through his Son Jesus Christ, do our best to live according to his grace and share this good news with those who desperately need to hear it.

God loves you, warts and all. God saved you through the blood of Christ. God has given humanity a second chance at gaining the kingdom of heaven. And if God can give a second chance to a liar, adulterer and a cheat, God can give one to you as well. Thanks be to God!

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