Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Second Chance

No comments :

On our post-Valentine lifegroup, we discussed about second chances; on how we can get our second chance and why should we give second chance to others. When I was doing my devotion and creating the lifegroup teaching points, Matthew 18:21-35 (21 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times) really spoke to me. This verse is part of "The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant", below video describes what this parable is:

Most of us, for sure, had that one thought “If only I had a second chance, I could…” Our Father grants us second chances, third chances, fourth chances, etc. But we must remember and put in our hearts that we should use those priceless opportunities in good and truthful ways.
We sometimes stumble and we all commit mistakes and after that moment, we inevitably ask our Creator for another chance. God believes and always give us second chances but there are strings attached to those who are doing these opportunities – repentance and change.
Now after we have received and earned that second chance, He also teaches us to give second chance to others. Probably “love your neighbor” is His hardest reminder to us.

1. Our OWN Second Chance
God is not only the God of second chances; He is the God of another chance. This is good news because most of us mess up the second chance fairly quickly. One of the amazing facets of God's character is His incredible patience with us. Psalm 86:15 says it well: "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." The Bible is full of people who received second chances, and even third and fourth chances: Peter, Jonah, Mark, Samson, David, and others. All trophies of God’s grace.
  • Repent First. Repentance is one of the first principles of the gospel and is essential to our temporal and eternal happiness. It is much more than just acknowledging wrongdoings. It is a change of mind and heart that gives us a fresh view about God, about ourselves, and about the world. It includes turning away from sin and turning to God for forgiveness. It is motivated by love for God and the sincere desire to obey His commandments. Luke 5:31-32 (31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”)
  • Ask for Forgiveness. Forgiveness is always available! The good news is that, no matter how serious the sin, God is always seeking us out and is willing to forgive and forget our sins and give us a fresh start. As long as we live, it is never too late to ask for forgiveness and make a new start! So Jesus used this illustration: (Luke 15:3-7) 3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.  When we have sinned, we can ask God for forgiveness, as in the Lord's Prayer: (Matthew 6:12) "And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors."
  • Visible and Invisible Change. After having the second chance, it is now in our hands the responsibilities to show others and to Him that we have changed genuinely. Remember, people will see our outward personalities and actions to verify our changes. But God sees everything and He sees our heart if we made a pure repentance. 1 Peter 1:7 "These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

2. Giving Second Chance to OTHERS
God is patient and forgiving, He wants His children to be patient with and forgiving of others. "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience" (Colossians 3:12). He gives us second chances, and we must give the same to others. Jesus gives a stern warning to those who refuse to forgive, saying that if we will not forgive others, God will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15; see also Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; and Proverbs 19:11). If someone is truly repentant, then we are obligated to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • Guard & Check your Heart. Forgiving others is sometimes very hard, but it is essential if you want to break out of the bondage that it's brought you under. Forgiving others opens you up for the Lord to begin healing your soul and heart (inner healing). Since unforgiveness blocks us from receiving God's forgiveness of our sins (Matthew 6:15), it puts up a wall between us and the source of our healing.
  • Forgive & Forget. Of course, it is impossible to truly forget sins that have been committed against us. We cannot selectively “delete” events from our memory. The Bible states that God does not “remember” our wickedness (Hebrews 8:12). But God is still all-knowing. God remembers that we have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But, having been forgiven, we are positionally (or judicially) justified. Heaven is ours, as if our sin had never occurred. If we belong to Him through faith in Christ, God does not condemn us for our sins (Romans 8:1). In that sense God “forgives and forgets.”

Giving someone a second chance means we give him another chance to earn our trust. But that does not mean we instantly forget what experience has taught us. Trust must be earned over time, and we are foolish if we give trust prematurely. We can have a loving and forgiving heart that also practices wise guardianship over our lives.
When we have wronged someone, we have no right to demand another chance. But we should work to earn another chance by continued demonstration of repentance and change.