It’s an oft-repeated scene. Little Brother is misbehaving. I give him a warning. He continues the behavior. I give another warning. He still continues. The warnings end, the consequences are dealt. “But Lissie!” he protests, “You’re supposed to give me a second chance!”
Somehow he misses the fact that I already gave him one – or several. Somehow he misses the fact that he’s supposed to obey the first time – he shouldn’t need a second chance.
The other day he watched the VeggieTales version of “Jonah,” which is all about second chances, so that’s even more on his mind.
How do you explain to a 7-year-old that second chances aren’t exactly infinite?
All of a sudden, an idea popped into my head. Since he cited Jonah as his example, I would use the story as mine.
“Do you know why Ninevah got a second chance?” I asked.
“Because when Jonah told them they were going to be destroyed, they became sorry for their sins. They prayed to God, and they stopped doing bad things. So God forgave them and gave them a second chance, and didn’t destroy them.
“But you know what happened later? Ninevah started to do bad things again. And when God sent prophets [like Nahum] to them, they didn’t listen. So God destroyed them.
“You see, second chances are for people who are sorry.”
God offers second chances to everybody. But they won’t extend infinitely. You can’t assume that you’re always going to get a second chance (I’m especially speaking to those who have not repented of their sins yet). While God extends the second chance, you have to accept that second chance. How? By being sorry for what you’ve done – by realizing that you don’t even deserve a second chance – by repenting and turning away from your sin, with God’s help.
“And God will give grace to the humble.”