I do not want this to sound arrogant or conceited. God has blessed me with a tremendous memory. I can recall moments in my life with vivid detail. Sure, some unimportant moments get lost in my brain along with some precise minutia. For example, when I quote scripture from memory, I always seem to flip a few words around to the way I would say them.
My memory coupled with my introverted nature allow me to replay scenes from my life over and over and over. This might sound good at first, who would not want to remember interactions with loved ones who have long since passed? But there is a dark side to my mind; it tends to want to relive the moments of my most fabulous failures. It is as if there were a pull toward those places where I made a mistake so that I can correct them in my mind.
At this point, I realize I may have lost most of you. Honestly, I do not know if anyone else’s brain is wired like mine. I am continually reliving everything I have done wrong in my life and especially my ministry. Why did I do that? Why did I not tell them the truth at that moment? What was I thinking when that happened? What would happen if those people walked back into my life today?
Mentally I have a natural tendency toward regret, remorse, and shame. I honestly wish I could forget those scenes and focus only on the future. I believe this is why I am drawn toward the topic of second chances in Jesus. It is only through the grace of Jesus that I do not run and hide. It is only through God’s mercy that I can continue in ministry.
Why do I bring all this up? Well, last night at 3:00 am I woke up to use the restroom. Suddenly, without warning the brain kicked in and I spent a little over an hour reliving my mistakes. I should have, I could have, I will next time, and similar thoughts filled my mind. I finally fell back asleep, but this morning I woke up feeling shame. What right do I have to be a minister?
On days like this, I am forced to remind myself of grace. I throw myself on God’s mercy. I appeal to Jesus for his forgiveness. Sure, I have already asked for his kindness over these matters a thousand times before, but they are still real to me today.
I want to be a preacher of grace and second chances because of what I find in Jesus myself. People like me are continually reminded that we have been forgiven much. Therefore we love Jesus much.
I preach grace because it is the only way I make it through this life.