A little while ago, I was reading the book, People of the Second Chance by Mike Foster. In it, he lists what he calls “The Five Condemnments”:
1. “I don’t deserve a second chance.”
2. “I am my shame. I am my secrets.”
3. “I will always feel and be this way.”
4. “I am defined by my worst moments.”
5. “My life, my dreams, my hopes no longer matter.”
As I interact with people, I see so many who live under these condemnments. That somehow a second chance is for others, not for them. That somehow what defines them most is their shame, failure and worst moments. They feel trapped in a cycle of no hope because yesterday was bad, so tomorrow will be bad, and they feel they deserve it. In essence, they start listening to the lies other people say about them, rather than what the Gospel says about them.
But, Jesus has a radically different promise and pronouncement for all of us. Here’s what He has to say about you:
1. “You do deserve a second chance, because I died to secure that for everyone.” (John 3:16)
2. “You aren’t your shame and secrets. You are forgiven and free.” (John 8:1-11, when Jesus encounters the woman caught in adultery).
3. “Your future isn’t full of darkness and repeats of defeat. If you believe in Me, you will have full and abundant life today.” (John 10:10)
4. “You are not defined by your worst moments, but rather by My calling on your life.” (John 21, when Jesus restores Peter after his worst moment).
5. “Your dreams do matter, because I, the Good Shepherd, know you and all that you need.” (John 10:14) – In fact, the first words of Jesus in the book of John are, “What do you want?” (John 1:38). So, your wants, dreams and desires do matter to God.
I write all this to remind you of something: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is freeing, transforming and totally life giving. The condemnments we so often live under aren’t part of living under God’s reign, love and grace.
So, today I want to remind you that if you feel like you don’t deserve a second chance – that shame owns you, that your past failures define you, that life can’t change, that your wants and desires don’t matter – than, well, Jesus begs to differ. Come and experience Him, and find that difference in your life.