Second Chances Again?

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Dewdrops for a New Day

Yes…Again…It seems my Lord has not finished with my life lessons…


There was one thing that bothered me. It niggled at the back of my brain all week. It was the difficult situation with a co-worker I wrote about in my post Soul Savior. It bothered me that I felt I could no longer “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39), and forgive “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matt 18:22). I talked to my Lord Jesus about this. I asked, “If you give me all the chances I need to grow closer to you. Shouldn’t I do the same for the person who delights in hurting me? It’s only verbal; I’m not being assaulted physically. It hurts and is damaging my career. But if I trust in you then I don’t need to respond. Right?”

I did not get a flash bang thought this time, or even complete understanding. The understanding took most of the week to form. I did begin to think of the history of Israel in the Old Testament and even in modern times. How God led the Israelites into battle over and over again. When his people put their faith in Him, He conquered the enemies of Israel even when they were outnumbered and out-gunned (or out-speared depending on the timeframe).

Hmmm…the enemies of God’s people were not given second chances. Then I thought of the book of Revelations. Armageddon and Judgement Day (all very scary things to me personally); those who reject God do not get a do over. But when the people of God cry out to Him for help. And he supplies the way out.

I also thought about how God knows our heart. He knows when we deep down believe and will soften our hearts towards him. He also knows when we reject him and will not turn to him. I thanked him for all the chances he’s given me in my fifty-odd years. There are more than I can count. He has blessed me even when I did not acknowledge him. As I continued through the week I received affirmations and understanding:

First on Monday I poured out my question to one of my mentors. She said I had done the right thing. I stood up for myself. What stuck with me was when she said, “You have already forgiven this person seventy times seven hundred! It is time to let it go!” After discussing this I felt better about letting it go and letting my bosses do their jobs. I felt my muscles start to unclench.

On Tuesday, I still wasn’t sure I was on the right track with the whole not giving this person another chance. My mom and I also discussed my question. One thing I love about my Mom is we can dissect and analyze something to the nth degree together. At dinner, my mom and I tore this apart. Then as we walked around the mall afterwards we started fitting the pieces back together. My mom asked, “What does God ask us to do?” I answered automatically, “forgive and love people.” I stopped in my tracks. Right there in the middle of the aisle. Thank goodness there was no one behind me. I was shocked! Mom kept walking. After a few steps she stopped, turned, and looked at me. “What?” she asked.

“That’s it!” I rushed back to her side and hugged her. “God doesn’t ask us to give people chances! He asks us to forgive and love them!” My mom’s eyes lit up at my understanding. Then the peace descended over me. I really do think she knew all along {wink}. I went into mid-week with a conscious effort to forgive and to love. It wasn’t easy, and it took some prayer. But I did it. I took those steps. I stood up for myself and I still was able to forgive.

The third affirmation came from a close friend at work. On Thursday we walked on a break and I told her what I had learned. She smiled and agreed that God gives the chances. They are His to give. We need to forgive and love. All the pieces I needed fell into place.

I don’t give any chances. It’s not mine to give. God gives all the chances we get. God makes the final decision on chances because he knows the condition of the heart. We just need to soften our hearts as we forgive those who trespass against us. And listen to Him: “A new command I give: Love one another, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)



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