Psalm 119:97–120 Genesis 45:16–28 1 Corinthians 8:1–13 Mark 6:13–29
Second chance—wonderful words! Isaiah knew them well. In Isaiah 49, the
prophet bemoans his failure to fulfill an assignment from God. “No problem,”
God seems to say, giving him a much bigger project, telling him, “I will give
you as a light to the nations.”
That story reminds me of my high school principal, Mr. Covington. He was a
wiry man, usually quiet, but tough. He once put on the gloves with a bullying
student to teach him a lesson.
I was in need of a lesson, too. I was the class jerk, always in trouble—even
throwing firecrackers on Mr. Covington’s front porch one night. I wasn’t
smart enough to make a getaway, and he caught me hiding behind a hedge.
My poor aunt, with whom I lived, was mortified by my behavior, and
everyone in town soon knew.
Not long after that, Mr. Covington fell in beside me as I walked home. Rather
than lecturing me, he began a gentle conversation about things he knew I was
interested in. We were soon talking, as it seems to me now, like buddies. I
knew that the slate was clean.
God has granted me many second chances, but that was one of the most
helpful. I became a pretty good student after that.
Lent is a time for self-examination, repentance, and self-denial. What better
time for giving a second chance to those of whom we think ill, to that cousin
who snubbed you or that coworker who crossed you? We too can be Mr.
Covingtons—and perhaps even lights to nations.