How many chances has Christ given me? I couldn’t even begin to count if I tried. Isaac Caree has a song called Chances and the song ends on these last two lines:
When will I learn my lesson?
Where will life be if I ran out of chances?
I am grateful that this is something that I don’t have to ever find out. Why? Because of God’s grace towards us. Because of forgiveness. Because I love Him so much that I strive to be better than I was yesterday, do the right thing moment by moment, and follow where He leads me.
But, grace. Growing up, I never really knew anything of God’s love and grace. And I was born and raised “in the church.” In my adult years, after life happened and I walked away from everything I once knew, I felt like, this is it, God won’t ever accept me. It wasn’t until I not only learned, but experienced His love and grace towards me personally, that I realized that it existed.
Sure, I read it. I knew the scriptures by heart. But, how little I heard it preached/taught, I lacked the understanding. So, I studied it for myself as He loved me back to Him. I received another chance. The journey back was not easy. I also had to learn to trust Him. But, with the right people in your life to surround you. Along with an earnest desire to seek His face… You’re given a chance for a life brand new!
Then came the work on my relationships with others… An opportunity for Him to show Himself strong. A chance for me to increase my faith and trust in Him and demonstrate my love.
“Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22 KJV
To forgive the apologies that never happened. To walk in true forgiveness is sometimes a daily struggle. To give chance after chance to someone who has wronged you – and continues to wrong you… Well, to have a heart after God and do things His way, aren’t we to forgive without thought or blame?
About a week ago I was faced with a situation where I surprised myself and everyone around by behaving out of character. I thought I had forgiven everything from the past, but I soon realized that I was still holding onto some things. It took a matter of minutes for me to come back to myself, I apologized immediately. I hadn’t known that there was frustration/anger built up inside of me. Having a conversation, a few days later to make sure we had everything squared away, for the first time ever I said to this person what was truly bothering me. Before I had always kept silent, telling myself that I was “keeping the peace.” When in all actuality, I was hurting me.
A weight lifted off my shoulders. A weight I was never meant to carry. Forgiveness. These chances really are for us, more than the other person. It does show the other person the love of God. But, who am I to withhold a chance/forgiveness, when God has given me so many chances and forgiven me so many times?
*Original Photo by KayBee05