Monday, November 14, 2011

Not set in stone

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ I John 1:9 (ESV)
A diehard purist when it comes to the English language, I cringe when I pass one of those stones folks put in their front yards engraved with their last name—for example, “The Smith’s.”
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! It should read “The Smiths” (no apostrophe).
I see it all the time, even from professional writers—the misuse of that confusing little curlicue to denote plural and not using it to denote possession. I have to quell the urge to get the biggest, fattest permanent marker I can find and go around, correcting all these errors, especially the one outside a town’s civic center that reads, “Mayors Office.” But I’d probably be arrested for defacing property.
Words painted on wood can be corrected, but what’s etched in a rock is permanent. Think about it—the mistake is literally set in stone.
I’m thankful the mistakes I make, in God’s eyes, are not set in stone. With God, they’re more like something written in pencil that can be erased.
The process goes something like this: I make a mistake—sin, do something I know is wrong. If it’s a sin, God, through the Holy Spirit, calls me on it. If I ignore the nudging, it nags at me until I name it, claim it, and ask forgiveness. God, in 1 John 1:9, promises to expunge it from my record. Note in that verse He doesn’t just forgive—He cleanses me from the sin and its resulting guilt.
If I just plain mess up, with no intention of wrongdoing, God can turn my blunders into something good: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purposes for them” (Romans 8:28 NLT).
I’m given a second chance. A clean record.
Don’t believe me? Then read about Jonah, who ran the other way when God called him to go to Nineveh. Or Aaron, Moses’ brother, who led the Israelites in crafting a golden calf to worship while Moses was on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandments. Or Paul, who persecuted the early Christians. Or Peter, who denied even knowing Jesus.
Jonah was given a second chance to preach to Nineveh. Aaron was named the first High Priest to head up the Temple service. Paul became a champion for the Christians, starting new churches wherever he could. And Peter became the leader of the first century church, the rock upon which Jesus said He would build His church.
No matter what you’ve done, no matter how deep the hole you find yourself in, know that in God’s eyes, your mistakes are not set in stone. He’s willing and waiting to give you a second chance. All you have to do is ask.
Thank you, Lord, that my gaffes and willful wrongdoings are not set in stone. Thank you for the many second chances You’ve given me. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Jonah 1:1-3, 3: 1-3

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