Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
September 11, 2016
Everybody needs a second chance sometime
Everybody needs a second chance sometime. We all make mistakes. We all need forgiveness for wrong and sometimes stupid choices.
We all need someone who will not give up on us. Having one such person in your life can be the difference between fulfillment and disaster. A father or a mother can be that person for a son or daughter.
My friend Bob made a lot of wrong choices as a teenager. He ignored the curfew set by his parents, often coming home late at night “drunk as a hoot owl.”
Bob’s father never responded with anger or chastisement. Instead, no matter how late Bob stayed out at night, he always found his father fully dressed and sitting in a chair waiting for him to come home.
“When I came staggering in Dad never reprimanded me,” Bob said. “He simply helped me to bed, always patting me on the back as he said calmly, ‘you’ll be a fine man one day, son.’”
He was right. Bob finally gave up drinking and, as he said, “turned my life over to God.” He went on to college, felt God calling him into the ministry and finished seminary.
Bob understands the gospel. He experienced it. His own father introduced him to the God who never gives up on his children despite their wrong choices. I tremble every time I think about Bob’s story. It reveals the true nature of God. He is the God of second chances.
Sin leads to suffering. When we insist on having our own way, defiantly refusing to obey God, we are on the pathway to suffering. None of us gets away with mocking God. He allows us to reap what we sow, to experience the pain of disobedience. When we break covenant with God we suffer the sad consequences of our choices.
Grief accompanies suffering. The Bible tells the story of the Israelites who in exile sat down by the riverside and wept, unable to “sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land.” Their harps collected dust while they mourned their loss. They only realized how much Jerusalem meant to them after they had lost it.
When the consequences of our wrong choices overwhelm us, we can sit down and weep – or we can learn valuable lessons. When we scoff at the moral laws of God, we are spitting into the wind! We are sliding down the banisters of life with all the splinters pointed at us!
When we break God’s commandments we are really breaking ourselves! Would to God that the pain of our sins could teach us that life will work in only one way and that is the way of the Lord!
When we are suffering because of our behavior, nothing can cheer us more than having someone refuse to give up on us. That can be a friend, or a spouse, or a parent, or a colleague at work. Such a person can remind us of the greater reality – that God never stops loving us! He never gives up on us, even when our sins grieve him.
Wise parents allow their children to suffer the consequences of their behavior, but they never stop loving them. Even when they come in late at night drunk, loving parents will offer them a second chance, and a third, and a fourth, to get it right!
There are many things you can do today but none may be more important than to offer your support to someone who needs a second chance. + + +