Jesus and second chances
SPRINGFIELD, MO. — It was the biggest mistake of my friend’s life and it nearly cost him his family and career.
He battled guilt and shame, often finding it difficult to forgive himself. He made the mistake of measuring Christ’s forgiveness by the level of acceptance he felt from other believers. And because those he had betrayed kept their distance, he wandered in a wasteland of self-pity and rejection for several years.
The enemy nearly destroyed my friend with the lie that his sins were greater than Christ’s work on the cross. Satan wanted my friend to believe he had forfeited his place within the body of Christ and all hope for healing and reconciliation was lost.
Fortunately Jesus didn’t give up on my friend. Just like He did for Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10), the adulteress (John 8:1-11) and many others, Jesus offered my friend another chance. He spoke to his heart that his sins were forgiven and it was time for him to turn his attention to building the kingdom of God and offering hope to others who had failed.
Ultimately those injured by my friend found it in their hearts to forgive him and a measure of trust was restored. Today he stands as a trophy of God’s grace and he is a productive member of his local church.
Those who make life-altering mistakes can anticipate a season of shame, sorrow and separation. But, as 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 says, our goal within the body of Christ is repentance, reconciliation and restoration: “If anyone has caused grief ... the punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. ... And what I have forgiven ... I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
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