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September 1, 2014, 3:03 pm

God always offers us another chance

Allow me a moment of clarity, if you will, about this thing called forgiveness. Every time I read the Bible something new materializes from text that I’ve read or heard many times. This forgiveness thing seems to be a cornerstone of the New Testament. As a matter of fact, Jesus time and again reminds his disciples that although the laws of his father are crystal-clear, Almighty God is particularly receptive to a repentant heart. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation…” 2 Corinthians 7:10. Some call him a God of a Second Chance. Those of you, who have read me know I refer to him as the God of Another Chance because I blew my second chance ages ago. Without another chance, any opportunity for me to gain entrance to the kingdom is well, shall we say, a lost cause? The whole point of the crucifixion was to forgive us our sins, thereby freeing us from the prospect of thinking we could somehow earn our way into God’s good graces. “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” Ephesians 1:7-8.

From this point of view, it appears forgiveness is truly a point that deserves our study. You see even though Jesus died for us, his purpose besides fulfilling the promise of the Old Testament was to bring mercy into a new realm. That being said, then shouldn’t we have an obligation to hold sacred this thing called forgiveness? “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We must exhibit mercy in our own lives if we are to meet the challenge of living rooted in Christian principles. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” Colossians 3:13. It’s that turn-the-other-cheek stuff, and the truth be told, this ain’t easy. It’s downright hard. Some would say we are not built to not hold grudges, to not seek revenge, to not get even when we feel slighted. It is so much easier to play by the eye-for-an-eye rules.

I think I understand a little when Jesus said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” John 8:7. We all walk around with rocks in our hands as well as our hearts. It is the true believer who understands that our world is more easily navigated when we do unto others as we want to be done to. Trust me. I want to be done by people who will do me correctly. Do me in the name of God, please. Do me in the name of how you want to be done. “Of all the commandments, which is the most important? The most important one answered Jesus is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and all your strength. The second is this, Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31. We tend to complicate things, and here is another example of the simplicity of salvation. The road to heaven is still traveled by those who let the stones go. The road to hell is often traveled by those who choose to throw them.

May God bless and keep you always.