God Gives Second Chances

Have you ever tried to help someone only to find out you made things worse? This just happened to me at our son’s wedding, but, as you can see in this wedding picture, I didn’t let it dampen the joy of this sweet celebration of their love.

The wedding weekend began with Kristi and I leading a “marital blessing service” (rehearsal dinner) for the wedding party and our two families — 70 people in all! David and Brianne shared the story of their romance and relationship, friends and family told stories about them from childhood to present, many affirmations were shared, and we gathered at the cross to pray over them.

Then on Sunday we celebrated their wedding in a beautiful garden setting. They had asked her father and I to be the co-pastors so we were blessed to minister to our “kids” and all the families and friends in attendance. The events of the weekend were community affairs in that most of the work was done as a joyful labor of love by family members and friends. It was Christian hospitality at it’s best!

Paying for Second Chances

However, even God-blessed events have challenges. The day before the wedding David handed me the marriage license, partially completed. I didn’t want him to have to worry about filling out the rest of it or getting all the signatures — I wanted him to just relax and enjoy his wedding! — so I took care of it, but I ended up causing a problem: I wrote an “S” when I should have written a “C” in one part of the application.

What’s the big deal about that? I didn’t think anything of it either and so I just turned the “S” into a “C” and you could hardly notice the difference. But later when I presented the marriage documents to my son I learned of my mistake. The application instructions (which I had only skimmed) said: “No alterations allowed!”

This wasn’t my first time officiating a wedding and signing a marriage license and I couldn’t imagine this would be a problem, but I could tell David was distressed by it. Thanks be to God, I resisted shame and guilt, but I did feel sad about his concern and I wanted to make sure it’d be okay so I told him that his mother and I would hand deliver the papers to the County Clerk the next day (two hours round trip!) and if anything needed to be fixed I’d take care of it.

Sure enough the clerk said, “No alterations are allowed! The state of CA we’ll reject this. You can file an amended application for $70.”

$70 for second chances! That’s how desperate CA is for money! Fortunately, as the pastor I was able to certify the accuracy of the original application and by signing the amended one everything was acceptable.

Praying for Second Chances

As Kristi and I walked out of the County Clerk’s office I thought about how I didn’t have to pay the price for my sin and you don’t for your sin either. Jesus Christ paid the price for our second chances! And our mistakes are way more than a stray mark on an application — they come from the fatal sin that severs our relationship with God and one another and destroys our souls.

Jesus sacrificed his perfect life for us by dying on the cross and he rose from the dead to forgive us our sins and reconcile us to God. Through trusting in Christ we will not perish in our sin, but are “born from above” into divine living that starts now and never ends (John 3:16).

Thank God for second chances! Maybe we need second chances to be kind, emotionally present, or to keep a commitment? Or to abstain from alcohol or overeating? Or to stay focused on our discipleship to Jesus?

And God not only gives us second chances, he also gives us the grace and power we need to make good use of those second chances. By depending on the Spirit of Jesus we can share with others the unconditional love our Heavenly Father lavishes on us!

More Soul Shepherding

Do you minister to other people? TLC is especially for you.  We’re now taking RSVP’s for our 5 day retreat in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care

You can go deeper in your appreciation for Christ Jesus. Forgiveness, unfailing love, and the power to become like the Lord are available to you!  Unforsaken: With Jesus on the Stations of the Cross by Bill Gaultiere is 68-pages of heart-warming appreciation for Christ and inspiration to learn to live your daily life with his attitude of love for God and people.

 

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