DISPENSING SECOND CHANCES
“I was looking down at the cold, white tile floor with a stomach in knots, tears trying not to boil over, a 6 year old hanging out with a cop, and a 4 year old holding my hand while being told what my future was going to look like. The label made me want to puke. And the thought of it turned my knees to Jello.
Wife of an accused sex offender.
The detective is giving me the facts and trying to make me think she cares. But I know she doesn’t. I’m just another case number. A person who she could possibly use to bring another man down. My job. Dang it. I just got new business cards that will have to be trashed since I’m pretty sure I will now lose my job at the church this all went down in. And our family and friends. Ugh. I have the “pleasure” of rehashing the story 50 times over with them, when all I want to do is tell the story once and hide. I feel so alone.”
Those were my initial reactions and thoughts as I stood in that sterile police station on a Friday night in October 2008. That night I was adamant my marriage was over. But for some strange reason, 72 hours later I wasn’t so sure about that. God in a huge outpouring of grace and mercy, revealed to me how this man was deeply broken - just like me . And the recent chain of events were symptoms from deep hurts that were never healed.
How could I stay angry with Danny? How could I not forgive? God gave me second chances all the time. Why shouldn’t I give Danny a second chance?
Who in the world was I to judge who could and couldn’t have a second chance?!
With that understanding, I decided to forgive him and move forward into the unknown. It felt like I was jumping off the highest cliff into a dark, bottomless ocean. But Jesus. The secret sauce that helped me make that jump and forgive Danny. I can’t explain it any other way. Jesus did a work in my heart and mind, enabling me to give complete forgiveness when the world was shouting crucify. God giving me the ability to forgive Danny so quickly was a tangible gift from God saying, “You’re gonna make it, girl. Watch this.”
I came to the realization that God had set this up for a purpose. And instead of fighting it, I decided to surrender to whatever fires He wanted me and my marriage to walk through. Some people were fantastic. Others were not. And I struggled with those “others”. It took almost a year and half for me to dispense complete grace and forgiveness to all involved. I had placed most of those people on a pedestal and God allowed the pedestals to fall. He desired for my faith, my hope, my second chance, my everything to be rooted in Him and not in people. That was more important to God than maintaining my temporary comfort level. Even when I didn’t receive grace from others, I decided it was time for me to give it.
Our ability to offer grace and forgiveness cannot be dependent on if we receive it first or not. We just have to give it. And while it can be hard and uncomfortable, God gives us what we need to help us dispense complete grace and forgiveness when we feel like doing anything else but that.
Who is that person you need to unleash complete grace and forgiveness on?
Who do you need to take off of a pedestal?
What was a tangible gift of grace that God gave you during a hard journey?