How do we define a second chance? Is it how you forgive yourself for accepting some abuse or the friend you take back after you found out they betrayed you, or is it the lover you get after the lies and breaking session, or perhaps the toxic environment you go back to because you’ve run out of options?
What exactly is a second chance, and who benefits the most? What degree of wrongdoing should be considered acceptable, and do we place our offenders on probation? How long before we decide they should be cast out forever in our lives if we do? These are all questions I’ve asked too many times.
How do you know who’s worth it and who isn’t? This is the question I’ve repeatedly asked myself for a while now, and hopefully, by the end of this, I might have given a reasonable argument on this or maybe not, but hopefully, I’ll pen down some thoughtful notes.
Some months ago, I talked with one of my old friends, and he believed that people never truly change but of course, I argued again. I said, ‘well, you know the only thing that is constant is change and if we pray to God and receive forgiveness and mercy, and he lets us continue living, that’s him giving us a second chance, and I know so many of us who are probably at the 7000 times if we were even ever able to count.’
But then he said again, ‘people never really change’ – he said, ‘I understand the perspective of looking at this from a religious point of view, but First things first, neither of us is God, and we know that what he looks at is the heart of man and neither you nor I can search and see the heart of man.’ Hence, he reiterated that he was of the school of thought that people never really changed.
He believed that unless there is a more substantial presence of religion and belief, one that can be perceived by everyone around, then that change has not happened. His further example was about a story of a thief who would become a man of God. He said cases like that were one in 1000 or maybe something that rarely occurs. Still, we can see here that this change is by a higher power and is not comparable to people who crawl out two years after their last escapades of betrayal and lies to say, ” Oh, I’m a new person now.
I have tasted this cherry, and I can say that people don’t change; everything else outside of that is the reality that people don’t change. Instead, it’s the same bundle of nonsense in a different package and the same layer of filth in a newer shiny cloth. I remember that cold ending, and I just spent the next few hours trying to understand or maybe not understand, trying to accept or decide if what he said was right and if I should stick to my belief.
I don’t know who deserves a second chance; I am no judge of character, and just like my elderly friend said, neither he nor I can genuinely see the heart of men. I suggest praying fervently for the grace to decipher right from wrong. Indeed, some magnitude of pain and betrayal doesn’t go away in two weeks or even three years. Still, the next time an old enemy or thief crosses back into your life with their sympathetic story and perfect package about forgiveness, make sure you stop in your tracks, pray and remember that a chameleon is a chameleon, and that means they will always be a chameleon.
Guard your hearts jealously, the words say, and that is where whole issues of life spring form. I am no biblical scholar, but I believe the word is complete.
The only person then who deserves a second chance is yourself. A second chance to not repeat the first mistake, a second chance to not repeat that wrong decision, and a second chance to not go in the last terrible direction. I pray we all have the wisdom to decipher the truth and make the right decisions.