Second Chances

Second chances are tricky.

We all need one. We all want one. But we’re also convinced it isn’t possible for us. The guy down the road, the person we read about online, our co-worker or sibling, but not us.

Some of us think a second chance is wishful thinking. You have no idea what I’ve experienced, what I’ve walked through and experienced. Josh, you don’t know what I’ve done or what’s been done to me.

Some of you think you don’t deserve a second chance or to rebuild something. Many of us walk around thinking we are getting what we deserve.

Some of you think, what’s the point of rebuilding or starting over. My life isn’t so bad, it isn’t great or amazing, but it could be worse and by doing that we often minimize our hurt and pain.

But rejecting those things, minimizing those things, pretending they don’t exist, doesn’t take them away; it just keeps us from moving forward.

The reason second chances are so hard for us is that we have to look back to go forward.

We like looking ahead.

In the rearview mirror of our lives are painful situations, hurt, betrayal, abuse, addictions, divorce, career changes, bankruptcy, embarrassments, mistakes, the list goes on and on.

We want to talk about now and in the future.

But, as Brennan Manning says, the false self, the imposter, the mask we wear, begins the moment that we felt rejected, worthless, or unlovable.

If you’re like me, you can take me back to that place in your life. I can bring you to the classroom in the elementary school where it happened. I can see the school, the room, smell the chalk and hear the teachers voice. The moment I learned I was behind and not keeping up, that I wasn’t smart enough.

For you, it might be a car ride where you were beaten down verbally by a parent, a kitchen table where a parent said “I’m leaving,” it might be a soccer field, a bedroom.

Those moments are important because that is the moment we must return to so we can move forward in freedom.

Many of us don’t struggle to trust God with our future and with eternity, but we struggle to believe God with our present.

Throughout the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was commanded to built altars, to celebrate feasts to remind themselves what God had done, how God had protected and provided and how God had rescued them. It was so they would walk by a monument and be reminded, to tell the story. Whenever our family drives by one of the places that our church has met in, and our kids will say “hey, our church used to meet there.” What they’re doing is they’re reminding me, and they’re reminding themselves of the story that we have lived and how we have seen God be faithful in our lives

This is why our church does communion every week. It is why we celebrate baptism as a church because we forget and need reminding of God’s grace.

Brene Brown said, “To embrace and love who we are (and I’d add to say to see the change), we have to reclaim and reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve orphaned over the years.”