Throughout our lives we are taught to condemn the blameworthy. Has this led to second chances becoming a thing of the past?
Watching movies on television, supporting the heroes and despising the villains, prompted me to think about how we are brought up, hoping that 'bad' people will suffer and that the 'good' will live in pleasure. This habit of condemning those who do something wrong or even something out of the ordinary has entrenched itself into normal living.
No longer is the concept of second chances prominent in society. Take first impressions as an example. People are increasingly being condemned through this idea that first impressions last.
What happens if you turn up to an interview and partway through get the sniffles? You become characterised as the person who always gets sick. If you meet someone new and look atypical or behave in an unusual way, you are labelled as an outcast. The list could go on.
Even though there is a certain responsibility to keep your reputation intact, nobody in this world is perfect and without any issues whatsoever. The problem lies with people looking to find flaws in others.
We are warned about such things: "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Matthew 7 verse 2)
Therefore we must be careful to reflect on ourselves when such things enter into our minds because we know that we are also imperfect. And since we know we are imperfect, why do we look to other's flaws as if to excuse ourselves?
In 2 Corinthians, Paul leads by example when he 'boasts about his sufferings': "If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." (2 Corinthians 11 verse 30)
We must be careful to not fall into the understanding that as Christians, we need to have lived a perfect life in order that we earn our way into heaven. This is not the case. As Christians, we need to accept Christ into our lives as our saviour and follow him. That's all. It is only through the mercy of God that we are able to enter into heaven and be forgiven. As a result we no longer need to be troubled by having to excuse every limitation of ours.
The important thing in life is to look unto others with the same mercy that we desire to receive. Take 'The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant' (Matthew 18 verses 21-35). From this we learn that it is important that we offer others second chances in order that we may be granted them too.
In essence, the idea that we need to live a perfect life is misleading. We need not worry about it because as Christians we live in the hope that the record of our shortcomings will be wiped clean through the second chance provided as a result of Jesus' sufferings. And even though in today's world the hope of being given a second chance is fading away, we still need to be willing to offer others them anyway.
Tim Robertson is from Sydney and is studying engineering at UNSW
Tim Robertson's previous articles may be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-robertson.html