There has been something cool going on the past couple weeks online that I want to share. My friends over at People of the Second Chance have created the Never Beyond poster series. These 25 posters will feature various famous (or perhaps infamous) silhouettes of people both historical and present day with the question “Who Would You Give a Second Chance”? The first week was Casey Anthony, last week Mike Tyson, this week – Darth Vader.
The point of the series is to spark conversations and to get people thinking. Could you forgive and give someone like Casey Anthony a second chance? On a larger scale, the conversation leads itself to is there such a thing as “too much sin” for God to forgive? Of course the answer is NO – but don’t we sometimes a Christians write people off as hopeless causes or as too broken for even God to care to fix?
Nothing could be further from the reality of Christ’s love. It does not matter what anyone – including you and I – have done, we are never too far from God’s grace.
Did the parable of the prodigal son teach us nothing? Our heavenly father is always ready, willing and more than able to welcome us to him. Does not Romans 8:38 tell us “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love which Christ Jesus our Lord shows us.” (God’s Word Translation) The wording choice is “convinced”, some translations even use “persuaded” as the key word. That’s a bold choice, it’s not “I am leaning sort of that way” or “perhaps maybe” or even “9 out of 10 Christians”, it is a declaration – “I am convinced”. All that’s missing is an exclamation point. And so too should we be convinced and be willing to remind not only ourselves, but also others, that EVERYONE is worthy of God’s grace.
Far too often we try to put labels on people and then use those labels to justify our own personal or even worse, institutional (read church and denominational) prejudices. Far too many churches are caught up in making sure they have “the right people” attending services instead of throwing open the doors and praying that God will lead exactly those who need the Gospel the most inside. Put down your holier than thou KJV (or better yet look up Matthew 10:42 first then put it down) and pick up that “cold cup of water” and go out and extend some grace to others.
What would you do if Casey Anthony or Mike Tyson or yes even Darth Vader walked into your church this Sunday and sat next to you? Or even one better if you could sit next to them on the bus or on a plane? Would you judge them or demonstrate to them that Christians are ambassadors of Christ and show them each some God-given grace and love?
“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them all.” 1 Timothy 1:15 (New Living Translation)
Paul wrote these words knowing the fullness and depth of his own past, that of Saul a young man who in his moral and religious zeal had hunted down and persecuted Christians for their faith. Yet even Saul had a second chance in Christ and was born anew. It didn’t matter what Saul’s past was, God saw Paul’s future – and what a future that was!
Who around you today is in need of a second chance? Chances are it’s you.