The Second Chance

Linda is away during March, Clayton Bjelan brings you today’s devotion.

I am always trying to come up with inventive ways to give them second chances

Joshua 20

Reference: v6  “They are to stay in that city until they have stood trial before the assembly and until the death of the high priest who is serving at that time. Then they may go back to their own home in the town from which they fled.” (TNIV Bible)

Explore: I’m a relatively new dad (I have 2 1/2 year old twin girls).

As a dad I need to fulfill a lot of different roles.  I need to be protector, carer, provider, entertainer, feeder, changer, cleaner, driver, doctor and cuddler (that last one is my favourite!)  But, I also need to be a discipliner.

Discipline is something that I think most parents struggle with at some stage or other.  We say things to ourselves like, ‘I want to be strict, but not too strict.’ Or, ‘I need to teach them this, but they are just so cute I don’t want to punish them.’

And we quote the bible verse, “spare the rod, spoil the child”… but in the end, I don’t think any parent really wants to discipline their child.  Sure, we all want them to be the best they can be, and we know that this involves us disciplining them – but if we could have them just perfect without the need to discipline, we’d jump at the opportunity!

So why is it so hard to discipline?  I think it’s because you love your kids so much that you don’t want them to be hurting, even if, deep down, you know that it is good for them.

One thing I’ve realised I’m doing in disciplining my kids, is always trying to come up with inventive ways to give them second chances.

You know the sort of thing – I’ve said something like “you can’t bounce the red ball until you finish your peas”… and then I realise that they are never ever going to eat all their peas, but I know that they are hanging out to play with the red ball.

So, I get creative.  I might say, “Ok, if you eat 2 mouthfuls of peas you can roll the ball to daddy”.  This way I haven’t backed down from my original statement (bouncing the ball) – but I still give them a path to follow if they want to play with the ball (they won’t be allowed to bounce it, but they will get to roll it… and she’ll eat those peas!).

Application: This verse in Joshua is far more important than kids eating a few peas!  It is about a safe place for someone who has killed someone else by accident!

But, there is a similarity of ‘second chance’ here too.  The importance of these cities of refuge meant that the family member of the person killed couldn’t simply come and kill the person who had accidentally caused the death of their loved one.  They (along with the person accused) had a ‘cooling off period’, before a proper trial could take place.

If they were found to have indeed, accidentally killed the person, then they were to be given a second chance back in their normal community after the death of the high priest.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you that you are a God of second chances.  You long for us to come back to you – even if we have wandered away.  Help me not to take for granted these second chances, and to come back to you fully, ask for forgiveness, and experience all that you have for me.

What part of your life do you think God might be giving you a second chance in?  How are you going to go about taking Him up on the offer?

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This article was written by Clayton Bjelan