The God of Second Chances

By Chip Ingram

We all make bad decisions, don’t we? We all do things we shouldn’t. Think of major characters in the Bible. They did too. Moses murdered someone. David was an adulterer and arranged a death to cover it up. Peter betrayed Jesus.

Paul wrote,“I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19).

So how are Christ followers supposed to help one another when we fall short? In other words, what should we do when a person in our church family does something blatantly sinful?

A typical reaction is passive indifference. “Isn’t that a shame. Oh well…” Another common response is painful insensitivity. Judging, shaming, avoiding.

Neither is what the Bible says God wants us to do. Here’s what Paul writes about it:

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. … Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

What is the law of Christ? Jesus told His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

Restoring our brother or sister who has sinned must be done with the same love that Christ showed us.

Remember, we serve the God of second chances. And third and fourth and fifth chances. We all experience “moral failure” at some point in this difficult life, and we all need forgiveness and restoration.

Also, we need to resist any fear that leads to passive indifference. Gentle confrontation is hard, but we need to be involved deeply with each other and tell the truth in love.

Likewise, we need to resist painful insensitivity caused by misguided self-righteous tendencies and a drive for justice. We must restore the wounded in our fellowship – not shoot them down!

After all, how can we fail to do for another what Christ has done for us?

If you would like to explore this topic more in depth, take a look at Chip’s series: Love One Another, True Spirituality, or Spiritual Simplicity

Written By

Chip Ingram

Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge

Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.

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