All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.
(2 Samuel 14:14)
Relate: David didn’t give Absalom what he deserved. Absalom deserved to die for murdering his brother. It was a premeditated plot that took years to carry out. He displayed his true nature in this action and David was a fool for allowing him to return home and a fool twice over for restoring him to the kingly court. Absolom would turn around and abuse that grace to manipulate once again, this time in conducting a coup that for a short time toppled David from his throne and sent him running for his life.
I recently was taking an online class on Christian leadership principles from an experienced leader at a very respected Christian university. For a large chunk of the class, this professor walked through the lives of Saul and David to illustrate his principles. Absalom’s coup came in a class session titled, “When a leader loses his influence”. The class was about why David lost his influence, how he regained it, and lessons we can learn from both. A lot of what he was saying about David losing his influence can be seen in the paragraph above. Although part of me agreed from a pragmatic perspective with what this professor was saying, another part of me was thinking, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no.” My heart’s rejection of what he was saying comes from two points. The first of these is the verse above. The second is how Jesus treated Judas. Judas was a thief. Everybody knew Judas was a thief. Jesus was no fool. So why on earth would Jesus let Judas be the one in charge of the finances of the Jesus Christ Evangelistic Association? I would posit that it also falls back on the verse above.
React: I am so grateful that God gives us second chances. (and third, and fourth, and…) Even when we don’t deserve them. Even when we haven’t yet fully learned our lesson, He still restores us the moment we give him the tiniest glimmer of an excuse to do so. He doesn’t let us live in our past but holds out a hope for a better future even though, like Absalom and Judas, the odds are good that we will end up failing Him again… and again… and again.
This is the third post on a series of God’s radical grace. That was not intentional. It is simply where I believe God has been leading me and so I cannot help but believe that at least one of you reading this has a need for these messages of God’s restorative grace. My writing is one of those means “God devises to bring us back when we have been separated from Him.” Lay down your pride. Lay down your guilt. Lay down your self-condemnation. Hear Jesus saying, “Neither then do I condemn you.” God’s future hope for you is so much brighter than your past failure. Step into it.
I am so thankful for your grace. Even when the world tells me that I don’t deserve another chance, You call out for my return. Even when my own heart condemns me and tells me it is too late, You call out for my return. Help me to heed that call and step towards You once again. You still have plans for a failed, idolatrous me. You still have a bright hope and future in store for me. So help me to not look back to my failures but rather to Your cross. Then help me to look forward towards those steps You would have me take in following You. I don’t deserve it, but Your radical grace still calls me onward.