Second Chances

The last couple of weeks, I have been binge watching The Flash. For the non-comic book fans, the Flash tells the story of Barry Allen who is given the gift of super speed after a freak accident. But, prior to that accident, his mother is murdered in front of him when he is just a child. As season3 begins, Barry is heartbroken over the recent murder of his father and longs to have the life he always wanted. The life other people had with a mother and a father. So, having super speed, he breaks through the space-time continuum and runs back in time (it's a crazy super hero show, bear with me this is going somewhere!). He goes back in time and saves his mothers life, creating a new alternate reality where he grows up with the parents he loves. But, nothing else is the same. In fact, lots of others things are worse. He decides to go back in time again to save unsafe his mothers life and try to put things back the way they were, but when he comes back to this new alternate reality, other things have now gone wrong. No matter what he does, he can't put things back together again. Life is always just a little bit less good than he would like it to be.

Have you ever had those feelings that you wish life had turned out just a little different? That you had taken that job? Asked that girl out? Gone on that trip? Made that investment? Or, as is often the case, wish you hadn't made some of the mistakes you made. Do you wish you could get back the time you missed with your kids, your spouse, your parents, because other things seemed more important at that time? Could undo that rash word you spoke to a parent? Take away the foolish decision you made when you were young that still lingers in your mind?

We all have regrets. We all have made mistakes in our lives. None of us can go back in time and change the past, but many of us spend a lot of energy trying to fix what we have broken, trying to undo the past, trying to make up for our mistakes. To make for ourselves the life we wish we had lived. But we can't. Once things are broken, they are not easily put back together. When we try to make things right by our own efforts, we simply break things in new ways.

The beauty of the gospel is that God says, "You don't have to have lived a perfect life. You can be screw-up. You can have a past. You can have made mistakes. I’ll still love you and give you second, third, and even 1,000th chance."

You can't make up for your mistakes, but you can be forgiven. And being forgiven, you can let go of the past and begin to live a new and better life by the grace and power of God. Not trying to make up for the mistakes of the past, but trying to live out the love God has shown you, moving forward into his new kingdom. No one can travel back in time to undo their mistakes, so God stepped into time for us, to pay the price for our sins so we could be made alive again and reconciled to God and each other.

Being the people of the second chance, God calls us to extend that same grace to others. I wonder what our thanksgivings would look like this year, if rather than trying to have the perfect family, we simply loved the broken people God gave us (our brothers and sisters, parents and children) as they are rather than as we wish they would be. Just like our God loves us. 

   © zion reformed church 2012