Like it or not, this world is full of critics and armchair quarterbacks. Between the Internet and 24/7 news channels, we’ve become a society that expresses our opinions about and pass judgment upon just about everything and everyone — people, places, and things. We do it openly or anonymously, and we do it a lot.
I’m in the midst of listening to the audio book of Broken on the Back Row, the autobiography of Christian/gospel singer Sandi Patty. Back in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Sandi had a successful singing career but an unhappy marriage. (I respect her for keeping some things private and not going into the details of why the marriage was so unhappy or the exact nature of their problems. I also respect her for making no excuses.) Eventually, the couple separated, and while separated, she had an affair. The marriage eventually ended in divorce, but she was still trying to hold together her singing career while living a lie. Eventually, broken on the back pew, she went to her pastor and began a journey of healing and restoration, with the Lord and with the church. She confessed her sins to God and her church leadership, made amends to those whom she had harmed, met with accountability partners weekly, counseled with the pastor both by herself and with her ex-husband, and more.
It was after she was well into the healing and restoration process (about three years) that the story broke about her adulterous affair. I remember reading about the scandal in 1995. But the reporter(s) at Christianity Today (and all the papers and magazines who carried the story afterward) seemed to only care about writing about her past moral failure. No one seemed to want to quote the pastor or others working closely with Sandi about what steps she had already taken, following biblical principals, to be restored and forgiven. But we serve a God of second chances, and we should rejoice over a life restored.
At church, we are continuing in our series on The Good Soil. This has been powerful teaching for these past seven Sundays. Yesterday included a reminder that there are two lives at war within all Christians. The human side, prone to sin, and the Spirit-indwelled side, the Holy Spirit who wants us to bear spiritual good fruit. Sin sometimes wins, but we are sinners saved by grace and grace restores us if we turn to Him with a repentant heart.
My fiction always has a storyline of grace at its core, probably because the older I get, the more I understand the awesome workings of grace in my life. I’ve stumbled so often. I’ve been full of good intentions and still failed to live up to what Jesus called me to be and do. And yet grace abounds. He has loved me and held me and put me back on my feet to continue on the journey. Thank God for second chances. Second chances to an infinite degree.
In the grip of His grace,