I was going to start with a joke, but when it comes down to it do you need to tell a joke when you’ve got good news to share? When you see that good grade on the final does anyone need to tell you a joke to bring a smile to your face? When that certain girl or that certain guy says “yes” they’ll go out on a date with you, does someone need to tell you a joke to make you smile? No you don’t need jokes when you have good news and I have good news to share!
Second chances: God’s all about second chances! And that’s a good thing because we need them so often. Isn’t it great that the Bible is full of people who needed and received second chances! St. Paul for example.
Could you imagine if the Bible were full of perfect people? How would we relate? We’re already comparing our personal worst to everyone else’s public best. We all wear that public face like we’ve got it all together even when we’ve got some serious doubts on the inside! It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian if you’ve got some doubts. It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian if you mess up. It doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian if you don’t have it all together. It does mean you need a second chance! St. Paul got a second chance, King David—talk about messing up! Adultery, murder--he got a second chance, Abraham the father of our faith—you guessed it: second chance! He doubted God’s promises and tried to take matters into his own hands, having a child with his wife’s servant Hagar when he doubted that God would fulfill the promise to give Abraham and Sarah, his wife, a child. Think about it, Abraham was the FATHER of faith and he doubted!
I believe we could use more sharing of how we’ve gotten second chances. St. Paul shared his struggles—that’s one of the powerful ways he shared the Gospel, the good news! Have you ever heard someone share a powerful story of faith? Have you ever heard one of those stories of faith go something like this: “My life has been perfect! Praise God!” and then they sit down. NO! That’s not how it goes!!
People share their faith through their failures through their tragedies: the problems in life and how God saw them through, that’s the power of God. Romans 8:28 says all things WORK for the good of those who love God in Christ Jesus—it doesn’t say all things ARE good. God has the power of redemption in Christ Jesus—now there’s a second chance! Dying and then rising again, how’s that for a second chance? And that’s the same opportunity, the same hope, the same gift that we share.
I’m not saying we need to necessarily go and wave all our dirty laundry in the public square, but when someone has repented and knows the forgiveness of God in their lives they share their sinful past like they’re talking about another person because indeed they are talking about another person. “LOOK!” Says the Lord “I am making everything new!” He’s making you new! Every day the old Adam, the old Eve in you drowns (drowns, dies) in the water of baptism and new person rises to live in perfect righteousness before God. So when you are talking about yesterday’s sin, truly you’re talking about a different person because God’s made you anew in the meantime. That’s the way Paul viewed his past before he met Jesus personally. That’s why he could stand up as an Apostle of Jesus Christ and call himself the chief of sinners.
Sometimes our foibles even bring us closer together! (Turkey story). Our failures make us human! And we who are baptized and believe share the same second chance, the one that is new every single day. And that’s something to smile about! We shouldn’t look back upon our regrets—we should be looking forward to the mercies and the gifts and the hope of our Father in heaven who loves us through His Son who suffered, died and rose for us. You’ve got a second chance-rejoice!
One of the ways we can rejoice is to share that second chance with someone. I know there’s someone in your life that needs a second chance from you. I know that because it’s true of everyone—there’s people in my life that need a second chance and I need God’s grace to give it to them just as I’ve received second chances from God.