It’s not good blogger etiquette to put the main point of the entry at the beginning. We’re supposed to tease you, massage you, guide you and then hit you with the point like Mike Tyson at the end of the drum break in Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” We’re not supposed to be hostile, pointed or really risk offending anyone until well into the piece when most people think “well, I’m this invested, I’ll rest the rest anyway.” But I can’t do that.
I think people who don’t value second chances are idiots.
We live in a world where your likelihood to get a second chance is in inverse proportion to your age and whatever you did that necessitates that second chance. A twelve year old who steals something from a store? They’ll take some heat, a slap on the wrist, perhaps some juvie time if a prosecutor wants to make a name for themselves but most people will say “he’s a kid. Give him another chance.” The 40 year old dude who steals something? You might as well have Chris Hansen walking around behind him waiting to drop the hammer.
I know in my life, I’ve blown a lot of second chances. Thirds. Fourths. Probably six hundred fifty-thirds. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to see the rarity of second chances and the value that comes from grabbing them by the lips and yanking them as hard as you can.
When I went through my divorce and had little choice but to let my sons live with their mother because one son needed therapy where we had been living at the time, it was like someone cut off body parts. I love my sons. Every day when I wake up and don’t hear Eli saying “good morning, daddy” I get sad. When I don’t walk into the living room and find Dale on the Wii I get a twinge of pain. They are daily reminders of how I screwed up and contributed to the downfall of a marriage.
And then I feel the painful thump on my lower back.
And then I hear the giggle.
And I hear Julie’s mother say to her “did you ask if you could jump on daddy’s back?”
And usually, I’ll just say “she’s fine” even though Julie never asks permission to jump on my back.
You see, Julie biologically isn’t mine but she calls me “daddy.” Before her mother ever broke down and realized she needed to lower her expectations of a husband and thus marry me, Julie was calling me “daddy.”
Julie gave me the second chance to be a daddy every day. Her choosing me made me realize the value of second chances on a level that I never truly appreciated before that day. It made me realize what an idiot I had been for the times I took a second chance and ran it into the ground in the pursuit of my pleasures or wants or what I thought was “right.”
Now, for the Jesus Juke.
Prudy mentioned to me in an e-mail that she believes Easter is “epitome of second chances.” I could not agree with her more. Jesus’ resurrection and giving us the chance to spend eternity with God is the biggest chance we can have with our lives. The opportunity to take all the sin that stands between us and Holy God and make it essentially disappear.
But I’m not going to Jesus Juke you on salvation here…I’m going to Juke you on what you do with it.
Because if you have accepted Christ, you’ve been given that second chance. To love. To give. To care. To share. To be God’s hands and feet to the lost, the hurting and even the person sitting next to you in the pew on Sunday morning who doesn’t realize turtleneck sweaters went out of style in October 1983. (November 1983 if they were a nice cashmere.)
Do you value it?