I’ve done many things in my life I’m not proud of. I’m not going to name them here because I don’t want to. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will be willing to tell you my “secrets” and some of them will probably be true. But you all know we’re none perfect. And what’s even better than that is that someone who was perfect sacrificed himself so that we could be made perfect in our Heavenly Father’s sight. Jesus.
There are many awesome pictures of second chances love in the Bible, but the one that stands out to me the most is about a guy named Saul of Tarsus. Saul believed in God and when he learned about Jesus’ followers, he was angry that they were proclaiming something to be true that he knew was not. In Saul’s eyes, Jesus (or Yeshua) was not God’s son. He was only a prophet or maybe even a false teacher and anyone who followed him and tried to proclaim that he was God’s son should die. So that’s what he did.
Saul persecuted early Christians for a while, but when he was traveling to a place called Damascus, Jesus himself appeared to Saul and blinded him. He basically told him he was wrong and must stop persecuting his people. Saul did as he was told. He eventually was called Paul and was the right-hand man of Peter, who Jesus used to build the early church. Paul was given a second chance to turn his life around because Jesus knew what kind of heart he could have and the passion with which he would preach God’s Word if he only knew the truth. Paul is now known as the Apostle Paul, he wrote 13 books of the Bible, and is arguably the most influential person in the spread of early Christianity.
Maybe you’ve never killed anyone or persecuted Christians. Or maybe you have. What you’ve done in the past, what I’ve done in the past, was not right. But it’s over. It’s done. What God wants for us all is to start seeing ourselves as he sees us. Once we do that, we can forgive ourselves, find the passion for something he is calling us to do, and make a difference in his kingdom.
Let me be clear. I’m not encouraging sin. Yes, it doesn’t matter how many times you mess up, God will still forgive you. What I am saying is that when you spend time in the Word and seeking God, all the bad habits you used to have can be broken and changed and you can start living in freedom. You’ll no longer be burdened by guilt, fear, or condemnation. Let Jesus set you free.
Like I said before, God has shown me his grace probably over ten thousand times already and I’m only 31 years old. He will do the same for you. When I changed my thinking and stopped beating myself up over my past mistakes and started seeing myself as a forgiven and loved person, my life changed. Get in the Word and see for yourself how God sees you and other examples of people being forgiven (sometimes more than twice). It’s that kind of grace and love that will change the world.