Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Season of Second Chances


Today's reading is from Jonah. I can't remember where I heard it before, but the book of Jonah goes something like this:
God decrees (go to Nineveh)
Jonah flees (to Tarshish on a ship)
Storms follow (Jonah goes overboard)
Fish swallows (Jonah, for 3 days, then Jonah prays and is vomited up onto the beach)
Second chances (God says go to Nineveh)
Jonah advances (He preaches and the people of Nineveh repent!)
God relents (God is merciful and doesn’t destroy the people of Nineveh)
Jonah’s lament (he was angry, he threw a fit, a big one)
Jonah’s case (“So, God, if you won’t kill them, kill me! I’m better off dead!”)
God’s Grace (forgiveness and a second chance)
As we draw nearer to the birth of our Savior, it's interesting to think about second chances. God, after all, is a God of second chances (just ask the Veggietales!). 

How many times in life do we need a second chance? A do-over? Words explode from our mouths in anger and even as they spew forth, we wish we could suck them back in. We make a mistake in a relationship and wish we could go back and undo it, or at the very least that our apology will be accepted and we'll be given another chance.  

How often do we give others second chances? I'm not talking about hours or days or months later - I'm talking immediate forgiveness and a second chance? Do we really listen when people mess up or hurt us and then apologize? Do we take their apologies to heart and show the same grace God does to the Ninevites and to us all? 

Do we often and easily forgive ourselves,give ourselves second chances, or do we let the should haves and could haves take hold of us? 

What would happen if we spent the rest of the month freely and totally giving second chances and practicing grace? Let's give it a try and see how it goes. 

After all, God sent a "far greater preacher than Jonah" (Matthew 12:41), in Jesus. Jesus preaches Love, Grace, and Forgiveness, so 'tis the season of second chances.






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