The God of the Second Chance: A Christian Perspective

God will get you for that!

Photo credit: qthomasbower / / CC BY

Photo credit: qthomasbower / / CC BY

It’s pretty easy to judge other people.  I do it myself all the time:  I surely could make better decisions, raise other people’s children better than they.  Surely I wouldn’t be so stupid, so careless, so evil.  If I were famous, I wouldn’t be destroyed by the fame.  If I were rich, money wouldn’t destroy me.  If I were powerful, I would still be kind.

When terrible things happen to people who have done bad things, I confess, I think, “they deserved it.  God punished them.”

People thought the same thing in Jesus’ time.  So they ask Jesus if evil people are punished when there is some accident or calamity.  He tells them not to worry about other people’s sins; worry about their own.  We can feel better by imagining that we are better than others, but, Jesus warns, we may find ourselves judged.  ‘Pay attention to your own life!’

Jesus could leave things there.

But then he tells a story about a fig tree that doesn’t bloom or bear fruit.  The owner wants it cut down. That would have been a fitting ending to the story of the fig tree, and a pointed allegory for all of us to shape up and get right with God.  But Jesus has a different ending; there’s urgency and hope in the gardener’s voice. “Give me a year.  I’m not willing to give up on this tree. Let me dig around it, loosen the hard soil, and fertilize it.”

A second chance!

God is like that gardener, Jesus says.  Waiting patiently for people to turn their lives, their hearts toward God. God is patient and gives everyone a chance. Accidents and calamities are not to be taken as signs that God is vengeful, but the events of life are a constant call to examine our own lives, and give thanks for all the second chances God does give us.

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