A few months ago, I started reading some stories over at People of the Second Chance. Have you seen that blog?
No? Seriously?! Ok, then, stop reading me right now and go read some redemption stories over there! Really, I mean it! (But please remember sometime later today or tomorrow to come back here.)
Alrighty then — Welcome back.
So, as I was saying — a few months ago, I clicked on a link to People of the Second Chance. Wow! What powerful stories of forgiveness, redemption, love, and — well, and of second chances.
There are stories of men addicted to porn, missionaries with bulimia, teenagers addicted to drugs. There are stories of boys who were abused by neighbors, girls who got into witchcraft, wives whose husbands are in jail. You read them, right? Did you see the stories about former klansmen, people who attempted suicide, the guy who hit his girlfriend?
These are stories of radical forgiveness. Powerful, abundant grace.
But you know what I realized a couple weeks ago? I realized that we love these stories because, for the most part, they already have a happy ending or at least some closure. They are packaged up with a tidy bow called Grace.
We don’t really love the People of the Second Chance sort of stories while they’re happening. Right in the middle of the messy-ness of sin and broken hearts and betrayals, we don’t always see the forgiveness and redemption and love. And we’re not immediately ready to think about offering a second chance.
When a pastor’s sins finally catch up with him and his entire church is reeling from betrayal and disappointment, we’re angry and hurt. When a wife walks out, hoping for greener grass on the other side, we’re shocked and upset. When an adolescent boldly and brazenly walks into bad choices, we’re terrified and heartbroken.
It seems so easy to applaud the tagline Overthrow Judgment. Liberate Love. when we’re a safe distance away. But when it hits home, it’s not a touching blog post about someone else’s road to redemption.
And so I have been challenged. Do I really believe in this extravagant forgiveness and lavish grace? Do I really want to overthrow judgment and liberate love? Do I really believe in second chances? Or third chances? Or fourth chances?
Or does it just make for a poignant blog?
How about you? Have you experienced this lavish grace? Have you extended it? Are you a person of the second chance?